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Ed Lee
Ed Lee
Ed Lee has been around EDA since before it was called EDA. He cut his teeth doing Public Relations with Valid, Cadence, Mentor, ECAD, VLSI, AMI and a host of others. And he has introduced more than three dozen EDA startups, ranging from the first commercial IP company to the latest statistical … More »

What if….no more big three?

March 28th, 2011 by Ed Lee

Continuing with my conversation with Tom Kozas, president of CADmazing Solutions, I asked him about a hypothetical scenario:

Ed:   So Tom, what would happen if for some reason, the big three EDA vendors all went away?   So instead of Cadence, Mentor, Synopsys,  the biggest three would be Magma, Apache?  Atrenta?

Tom:  I think this raises even more questions.

Ed:  Hmmm…interesting.  What questions?

Tom:   Several come to mind:  Would this mean renewed growth for the industry? Would the fundamentals change that encourage investment in new startups? Would the design flows become more or less integrated, collaborative, and global?

Ed:  Ok, good questions to ponder.   So what would be THE big issue?

Tom:  The “Silicon” in Silicon Valley is missing.  Without investment in new semiconductor startups, growth simply won’t happen.  Virtually all new design starts are happening within the big systems and semiconductor companies which means the only way to grow an EDA company, is to steal market share.

But would this translate to increased value for the remaining EDA companies in the eyes of the financial community?  What’s interesting about this hypothetical is, even though it would put the remaining EDA companies in a position to take advantage of this opportunity they might not be able to.

Ed:  Just to play devil’s advocate, why wouldn’t that next set of players, whoever they are, be able to take advantage of the sudden disappearance of the big three?    And who do you consider to be that next set of players?

Tom:  Good questions.   But let me respond by saying what they will need to provide.

So, the next big three will have products that have great user interfaces, provide online collaboration, and be part of a new ecosystem that enables innovation.  The industry already has advanced technology but needs graphical and command-line interfaces that exploit the online design environment.

Second, designers don’t necessarily sit in the same building but often have to work on the same problem. For example, two or more designers should be able to share the timing database and bring up the same timing path without having to rerun static timing analysis and do it within minutes no matter where they are in the world.

Finally, the current EDA ecosystem is in the dark ages, there needs to be a new model that facilitates new algorithm and tool development with a reward system.

Ed:  Tom, thanks again for your insights.

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