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 Gabe's EDA Update

Archive for August, 2012

Mentor Had a Good Quarter, But Why Not a New Structure?

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Mentor Graphics reported its 2Q13 results and showed that its earnings improved due mostly to a decrease in expenses. Revenues were $240.8 million, up 13% with gains in systems and software, and a very strong showing from the Design to Silicon division, the home of Calibre. This is to be expected, given the major effort from large companies to move to the 20 nm process node. Still the results show that Calibre continues to be the leader in its market segment. Percentage revenue growth for this division is greater than that of Mentor as a whole, showing its critical importance to the company.

The rate of growth of the Integrated System Design division, the PCB division, was quite good but it has slowed from previous periods, Jay Vleeschhouwer is estimating a revenue growth of 9%. This division in the recent past had grown significantly through acquisitions, and now it has to be a profitable business as it stands. Its contribution to revenue is practically equal to that of the Scalable Verification division.

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Synopsys Defines A New Market Reality That Works

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Shortly after the announcement of the Springsoft proposed acquisition, Daniel Nenni published a very accurate and complete matrix showing the intersection of the products offered by all three companies. Although there was never an explicit statement in the article about the direct dependency between success and consolidating the matrix, it was implied that Synopsys had significant technical work ahead of itself in order to financially benefit from the acquisitions. I think that Synopsys principal motivation was not technological but market driven.

The EDA industry is a mature industry. It is fair to argue about the technical characteristics of various products and to compare products directly. But leading EDA companies all offer competitive products that get the job done, albeit in different manner and with varied localized results. Were this not so, the companies would no longer maintain their standing in the industry. I am sure that Synopsys sales organization will not be confused about selling more than one verification product. And, in the end, equilibrium will be reached as one of the products will establish itself. In fact, creatig a new product by merging technologies can be disruptive to sales since change, as we have seen more than once, is threatening to a trusted design flow.

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Can EDA Remain Relevant?

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Yesterday I received an email about a panel organized by Jonah McLeod of Kilopass titled: Is Lifecare the Next Killer App?. The panel was moderated by Rick Merritt, EE Times Editor at Large. Kristopher Ardis from Maxim Integrated Products, Fabrice Hoerner from QUALCOMM Inc., and Greg Fawcett from Palo Alto Research Center were the panelists. The email stated that their discussion examined the semiconductor opportunity to facilitate health, energy conservation, safety, and productivity that will improve “Lifecare” for a world population of over 7 billion inhabitants. It had a pointer to a video recording of the entire panel.

I had not seen the panel during the conference, so I viewed this morning. Given its contents I would not advise a high school or college graduate to consider EDA as a career. What the panelists discussed is relevant to Kilopass and its business, but not to traditional EDA vendors. Only toward the end, responding to a pointed question from Rick Merritt, did two of the panelists addressed how EDA may be relevant to what they were talking about. And the three fields of relevance were: security, low power, and system level integration.

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Daniel Nenni Shows His Marketing Skill

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

In a piece titled “SemiWiki.com Analytics Exposed” conveniently published on LinkedIn as well as its own masthead Daniel Nenni espoused the growth of his creation and compares it to other publications. You can read it at:
http://www.semiwiki.com/forum/content/1529-semiwiki-com-analytics-exposed.html

The piece has many problems, but I will just address what I find most egregious.

Why Alexa?

First of all let’s consider the source of the data. Alexa claims to be “The Web Information Company” but the title is self granted. I prefer Google Analytics, but of course that is a more secure site and not so generous with third party “data”. I ran an experiment the last three days to confirm or refute Daniel “numbers” as far as my site was concerned. What I got was extremely variable results with over 10% error among the queries. Thus my conclusion is that Alexa gives numbers, not qualified data. After all the free results are an invitation to pay for tools and services.

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