Andreessen is famous for his thesis that "software is eating the world," predicting that every product or service that can become software will become software. By extension, Andreessen said that manufacturers of hardware that don't make accompanying software — like cars — will no longer get the majority of the profit from the products in time.
His firm is an investor in self-driving car companies like Comma.ai and DeepMap.
"Obviously there's a lot more software in cars than there was 10 or 20 years ago," Andreessen said. "Everybody knows that. It's a step further to say that in 10 years, the winning car company will be the car company that makes the best software."
Andreessen pointed to Apple's hallmark model of vertical integration: By controlling both the hardware and software production, Apple prides itself on assembly secure products that work smoothly together. That's in contrast to the horizontal Microsoft model, where software like Windows, Outlook and Word are available in many different versions on many different types of machines.
Either model could prevail and dictate the future of the automobile industry, Andreessen said. Right now, Tesla's Apple-like approach has the lead, although the company faces increasing competition from a flood of new companies in Silicon Valley, Andreessen said.
"If you squint at Tesla one way, it looks like Apple circa 2007, 2008 — where they've released the iPhone, they just haven't sold many yet. But they're going to sell a ton," Andreessen said. "Another way of looking at Tesla is they're Apple in 1992 with the MacIntosh. Yes, their integrated hardware-software is good, but other people are going to come up with software as well. ... And I think that's the big question on Tesla — which way does it tip?"
The full podcast — which includes tips on pitching Andreessen — is at Bloomberg.com.
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