So here’s the good news: Famed venture capitalist Marc Andreessen thinks Apple, as a tech company, will do “extraordinarily well” over the long term and is gaining strength. But in an interview with Bloomberg West, that’s sort of where the kudos stopped.
When the conversation he was having turned to Apple Pay, Andreesseen seemed, well, pretty non-plussed. The mobile payments scheme that he says is “freaking out all of the financial services companies right now” and giving people “heart attacks” because they expect Google to roll out its own version (um, they already have one called Google Wallet) he says is well, not very innovative at all.
To be precise, he said that it was “innovative, consistent with the status quo” – an oxymoron that drew a chuckle from the crowd.
Of course, it is well known that Apple Pay, as a digital payments scheme, has digitized the traditional payments rails and ecosystem. But that’s not what Andreessen cited as an example of the status quo. Instead, he said that the most “remarkable” thing about Apple Pay was “how many things don’t change,” citing that consumers still put their credit card into the Apple Pay wallet.
And not bitcoin.
That, naturally, was a segue to plug Andreessen’s favorite innovation of all time, bitcoin, which seems to be the standard by which Andreessen measures innovation in financial services. No bitcoin, not innovative. An opinion not shared at all by Max Levchin, PayPal Founder, who was recently quoted as saying that as an asset class, bitcoin is “ridiculous .”
Andreessen went on to say that bitcoin will be the most innovative thing in the payments/financial services space over the longer term – 20 years he cited, and Apple Pay will be the most innovative thing in the short term, which he characterized as three years.