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Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

CES 2014: why was Cadence there?

January 9th, 2014 by Peggy Aycinena

Since the ginormous Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week is widely touted as the biggest event since the invention of humankind, it’s hard to admit two things: a) I wasn’t there, and yet b) I’ve been asked to compose a blog about it. Somewhat of a challenge, but not an insurmountable one.

To attend to the task at hand, I slogged through the blogosphere to see what people who were there this week had to say about it all, after knocking in and around the largest conference on the planet.

Turns out their take-aways are pretty consistent: Among the 3000+ exhibitors, there were more toys on display than you could play with in a month of Sundays, drones are everywhere and somewhat creepy, TVs are getting bigger, electric cars are getting more so, everything’s wearable, and the only things left that are truly private and un-recordable in the mania of this digital age are your thoughts, and those are probably under assault in an evil lab somewhere. [Note to self: don’t sell them for a penny.]

Another way to approach CES, if you blog about EDA and IP, is to go to the roster of EDAC and see who on that list was exhibiting this week in Las Vegas. The results are rather surprising – only ARM and Cadence.

It’s pretty easy to understand why ARM would be there. One day we all woke up and discovered that ARM’s in everything. And I mean everything: the TVs, the electric cars, the toys, the drones, everything wearable, and soon undoubtedly ARM-based devices will be the first to read your thoughts. Exactly what you’d expect from the 800-megaton gorilla of IP.

But Cadence? Why would they be there? Synopsys wasn’t listed as an exhibitor at CES, nor Mentor Graphics, nor Jasper, nor Gradient, nor Forte, nor IC Manage, nor Nimbic. So why Cadence? Why an EDA company?

To answer that question, I went to the Cadence website and wow – Brian Fuller was at CES, and so was Richard Goering. Clearly Cadence not only thought it worthwhile to exhibit, but also to send their big blogging guns.

And then suddenly I saw it, right on Cadence’s front page, the answer to the mystery: “2014 CES: Tensilica DPUs and DSPs and Live Show Coverage.”

Of course. Cadence sells cores. Tensilica cores. If you’re Cadence and have so recently upped your IP ante, now you want to sit at the Big IP Boys table. If ARM’s going to show up somewhere, you want to show up too. If ARM’s feeding at the trough, you want to be seen eating there to. If ARM’s in every device known to man, you want to be perceived as maybe being in there too.

The only problem with this conclusion? Hey, isn’t Synopsys an IP company? One of the biggest, in fact? So why weren’t they exhibiting at CES? Don’t they see themselves as a peer to ARM, equally deserving of a seat at the table and/or trough?

I’m guessing that SNPS thought about it and decided No; CES isn’t a good fit for an EDA company and not a good ROI for an IP company that’s not (yet) a household name like ARM. That’s what I’m guessing, but I could be wrong. And if I’m wrong, then Cadence got it right and Synopsys got it wrong as well.

But if Synopsys got it right and Cadence got it wrong, it seems like the people who care about the bottom line at CDNS might want to take a closer look at why all the expense and all the fuss over CES. After all, it’s a conference about their customers’ customers’ customers.

John Bruggeman tried to change that, tried to enlarge Cadence’s circle of concern, but he’s no longer at Cadence. It appears he couldn’t defend the ROI of thinking so much about the customers’ customers’ customers.



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3 Responses to “CES 2014: why was Cadence there?”

  1. Brian Fuller says:

    Peggy, one important clarification. Neither Richard nor I actually attended CES. We blogged from the safe, less-chaotic confines of our offices. However, a colleague, Corrie Callenbach, attended and live-blogged throughout the week along with Paula Jones, who attended as well.

  2. Craig Cochran says:

    Hi Peggy,
    Actually, Tensilica has been going to CES for the last 6-7 years because the exhibitors there are their primary customers. Tensilica DPUs are heavily used in consumer electronics, including TVs, audio devices, set top boxes, mobile phones and tablets, so you could say that they have been at the “Big IP Boy’s table” for quite a while. This was Cadence’s first CES by way of Tensilica, and it was quite a successful event for us. We’ll be back!


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