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All Contents © 2020The Kiplinger Washington Editors
By Brad Moon
| November 10, 2017
A decade is a long time. But it's even longer when it comes to tech stocks, where developments come fast and furious. Think back 10 years ago and some of the biggest technology companies of today weren't trading publicly or in some cases didn't even exist.
Facebook (FB) was still five years from an IPO. Apple (AAPL) had just released its first iPhone, the start of an industry-wide disruption and the beginning of its rise to becoming the world's most valuable company. Tesla's (TSLA) first car—the Tesla Roadster—was still a year away from production and the company was three years from going public.
Technology cuts both ways, though. The roll call of tech stocks that are here today and gone tomorrow is a long one. Some companies shut down altogether, and some are bought like Yahoo was earlier this year.
Which of today's tech stocks will disappear by 2027? We take a look into the crystal ball and come up with 10 companies that could be history within the next decade.
Prices and data are from the original InvestorPlace story published on Oct. 27. Click on ticker-symbol links in each slide for current prices and more.
WEnet Studio Via Stock Snap
Twitter (TWTR) has been struggling for several years now. The company has been facing flat user growth while dealing with the problems of "toxic" users and accusations the platform was secretly being used to exert political influence.
Not even the return of Jack Dorsey as CEO in 2016 and moves like the recent experimentation with longer tweets have turned things around. The company killed its popular Vine video clip service, and its Periscope live streaming has faltered. TWTR stock is down 75% from its 2014 heights—for many investors, it's been one of those tech stocks to sell, not buy.
Twitter remains a popular platform, but with slow growth and elusive profitability, it seems likely that the company will be bought up and integrated as a service by a bigger tech player.
Within 10 years, this top tech stock will assuredly be no more.
Roku (ROKU) just had its IPO, so why would it be at risk of disappearing within the next 10 years?
The company has been selling video streamers for years and currently has the largest market share, with 37% of the U.S. market. It's even had its technology integrated into TVs this year.
However, Roku's entire business is built around video streamers and its competition includes the tech industry's biggest companies: Apple, Amazon (AMZN) and Alphabet (GOOGL). If dedicated video streaming devices become the next VCR, prices drop to commodity levels or one of the big players makes a really determined push to own the living room, Roku stands to be the loser.
It's hard to imagine a future where Roku is a long-term player, so this tech stock will surely disappear by 2027.
GoPro (GPRO) had a terrible 2016, but appears to be stabilizing in 2017.
What make it possible that this could be one of those tech stocks that's here today and gone tomorrow?
Despite the momentum the company has managed to put together in 2017, it is highly dependent on sales of action cameras. Those are threatened by smartphones with their advanced and increasingly water resistant cameras on one side, and cheaper competitors on the other.
Drones? GoPro's other product got off to a rocky start but has since recovered. However consumer drones have yet to expand beyond the hobbyist market, regulations are restricting their recreational use, and DJI dominates the industry.
GoPro may yet pull off its turnaround, but its chances of surviving to 2027 by selling action cameras and drones are questionable.
Fitbit (FIT) rose to prominence as the leading maker of fitness trackers. But the company is at a crossroads. After several years at the top of an industry it helped launch, Fitbit was overtaken earlier this year as the top-selling wearables manufacturer.
Apple is stealing its high end market with the Apple Watch. China's Xiaomi is now the world leader in fitness trackers, thanks to prices that are a fraction of Fitbit's. The company launched the Ionic—its first real smartwatch—this year in an effort to fight back against Apple, but Fitbit is clearly facing a serious challenge to its long term survival.
With FIT stock down over 87% compared to just two years ago, this could be one of those tech stocks to buy today. At least if you assume it will be able to turn things around. Or, the company may end up sold off for its software and assets, like smartwatch pioneer Pebble that Fitbit snapped up late last year.
WEi WEi via Flickr
BlackBerry (BBRY) has been written off as being doomed so many times it's hard to keep track.
There was losing the smartphone industry it arguably kicked off to upstart Apple. The disastrous PlayBook tablet. The departure of its co-founders. The re-branding. The failed smartphone comeback. The loss of 95% of its 2007-era market cap...
BlackBerry is focused on software these days, although it did just release another smartphone and its QNX division is working on autonomous car technology. But if there's a technology company that feels like it's living on borrowed time and unlikely to survive until 2027, it's BlackBerry.
Snap (SNAP) always seemed like a risky bet for those investing in tech stocks, at least in the long term.
The social media company is largely at the mercy of the finicky teenagers who prefer it to Facebook. But Facebook and other competitors have been duplicating its features. And the Snap Spectacles that were a trendy must-have gadget last Christmas are now sitting unsold in warehouses by the hundreds of thousands.
Snap seems to be on track to be one of those tech stocks to sell before things get worse, and looks like a prime candidate to disappear by 2027.
IBM (IBM) is an absolute dinosaur by tech industry standards. Founded in 1911, it became a tech powerhouse as one of the key players in the PC industry.
However, the PC industry is in a long, slow decline. IBM sold off its laptop business in 2004 and has focused more on enterprise solutions and cloud computing, but it's still facing tough times.
While cloud computing may turn out to be the bet that saves the company, layoffs and revenue declines for 22 straight quarters don't paint a rosy picture. It may seem unthinkable, but it's possible that Big Blue won't make it to 2027.
Seagate Technology ((STX) is another veteran PC industry company that is struggling in an era of declining PC sales.
Seagate weathered the transition from traditional hard drives to solid sate drives (SSDs), but with PC sales continuing to slide, it is struggling. In July, the company announced plans to cut 600 jobs along with the departure of its CEO.
Like many PC industry tech stocks today, Seagate may find long term survival a challenge. A shrinking market is one thing, but with the increasing use of cloud storage for PCs—with options like Apple's iCloud, and Microsoft's OneDrive—Seagate may have a tough time making it to 2027.
Pandora Media (P) is an internet radio pioneer. In 2014, the future seemed bright as music lovers jumped on board the streaming music wagon.
Then the big tech companies followed. Pandora now competes against the likes of Apple, Amazon and Google and its subscriber numbers are slipping, a reality that's reflected by a drop in P stock of 80% since its prime.
Among the early streaming music companies, Pandora and Spotify are increasingly rare survivors. The odds of Pandora making it another 10 years without folding or being snapped up are increasingly low.
Does Tesla (TSLA) belong on this list of tech stocks that are here today, gone tomorrow? After all, TSLA trades at $326, it's the world's fourth largest auto maker by valuation and it's just launched the Model 3—the company's mass market electric car.
However, Tesla has burned through billions of dollars in cash to bring the Model 3 to market, it's experiencing difficulties that are putting Model 3 production behind schedule and virtually every other car company in the world is now committed to electric.
Tesla has yet to be profitable and is now going to be facing serious competition in a market that had little as it was ramping up…
If it seems unthinkable that Tesla would not survive until 2027, the auto industry is full of brands that were bought by bigger manufacturers—Jeep, Cadillac and Jaguar to name a few. There are also many auto makers that made a splash only to be crushed by the industry, including DeLorean, Studebaker and AMC. Tesla is riding high now, but that's no guarantee the company will make it to the next decade.
This article is from Brad Moon of InvestorPlace. As of this writing, Moon did not personally hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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