America's most valuable technology firms such as Microsoft and Google are unlikely to maintain their leading positions in the next 20 years, a top Silicon Valley venture capitalist and former Apple executive has warned.
Speaking at the Viva Technology conference in Paris on Thursday, Joe Schoendorf, a partner at venture capital firm Accel, said that developments in technology would see Apple, Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft - the world's biggest tech firms by market capitalization and among the largest companies on the globe, fall behind.
"Nobody is safe (from disruption)...when I came to the Valley, the dominant force...was called Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Snow White was IBM, they owned 90 percent of the main frame market...in effect, all of those eight companies are gone and then we went to the mini computer companies...then we went to the PC companies, then we went to the server companies...so to sit here and say today's dominant players are forever, is just not going to happen," Schoendorf said.
"The question is how long will they last? Some longer than others…but with all the wonders of nature the platform shifts, and boy are we going to have a platform shift. There is always a group of emerging new stars. If I come back here in 20 years, all five of the companies I just told you about, will not be on the top ten list, I can't tell you which ones, but there will be five new companies that will be on that top 10 or 20 list."
Schoendorf was the vice president of marketing at Apple Computer (the name of the company before it was changed), in the eighties.
The VC told an anecdote about how he attended the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos for the first time 20 years ago and the major companies on the list were NTT, Coca Cola and General Electric. But those companies have been "disrupted" and are not there anymore, Schoendorf said, illustrating how even dominant players can fall behind quickly.