February 12, 2007
Roundtable: Is IP Really that Bad?
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IP was front at center last month at DesignCon in Santa Clara, showcased in no less than 5 different panels that discussed numerous topics including: how to select IP (carefully), how to encrypt IP (very carefully), how to verify IP (very, very carefully), the current state of the art with respect to analog/mixed-signal IP (don't go there), and the business impact of IP quality on market growth for the industry (some good news, some bad).
There was, not surprisingly, significant overlap in the commentary that emerged from the various panels, but one set of statistics presented at the IP business impact panel was of particular interest. VSI Alliance President
Kathy Werner moderated that particular session, and led off with a slide that referenced an
EE Times survey of customer attitudes about IP.
Per Werner's slide:
Reasons People Use IP:
The point was clear. People want to use IP, but continue to have trouble trusting IP. This was not news to anyone in attendance at DesignCon, even if the slide did provide a more quantitative set of data points.
The idea that people want IP, but are ambivalent with regards to quality, would also not have been news to participants in a roundtable discussion I moderated on Tuesday, January 16th. The topic of that discussion was IP as well, in particular:
Is IP Really that Bad?
Warren Savage, President & CEO at IPextreme, IP licensing facilitator
Joel Silverman, Vice President of Marketing at Kawasaki, IP provider & consumer
Graham Allan, Director of Marketing at MOSAID, an IP provider
Ian Mackintosh, President & Chairman of OCP-IP, a standards body
In reviewing my notes from the roundtable, I was struck by how closely the comments of panelists (see below) mirror the general sensibilities of the many panelists that comprised the IP conversations at DesignCon – with one caveat.
Star IP providers MIPS and ARM each appeared on (separate) IP panels at DesignCon. Representatives of both companies were adamant that IP quality is not an impediment to market growth. In response to both MIPS and ARM, at their respective panels, the comment was then made by other participants that microprocessors, with all due respect, are not as tough a nut to crack as other categories of silicon IP.
Consider that an informative and/or whimsical segue to the following conversation.
Roundtable Discussion – January 16, 2007
Peggy Aycinena – Can you address the recent 'controversy' over the EDA Consortium's inclusion of IP revenue with
EDA revenue? I'm not sure I see why this is controversial. What do you all think?
Warren Savage – From my standpoint, I would be one of the detractors, [arguing] that IP is not an extension to the EDA business model. It's been proven that EDA and IP are separate. IPextreme is a technology licensing company working with the large IDMs, helping them to monitize their internal IP to the global marketplace. We serve as a licensing agent, supporting the agents and outsourcing the IP function for vendors. I'm quite bullish on IP on the premise that IP is the fastest-growing aspect of the semiconductor industry, outpacing growth in semiconductors themselves, and EDA.
Joel Silverman – I also disagree with including IP revenue with EDA revenue. From Kawasaki's standpoint, we're a pure-play ASIC [house]. IP is critical [to us]. It was an early decision for us to develop IP internally or purchase IP from an external [source]. The only stuff we do internally today is key IP related to areas we already have expertise in, like SerDes [serializer/deserializer]. In many other areas where we don't have the expertise [we purchase IP].
[even] 500 people who cannot develop the internal expertise – for instance, in SerDes or processors cores – and that's a tremendous opportunity for the IP providers.
development of standards.
Peggy Aycinena – So there is a way to certify IP? This is a topic of great interest.
we're through, even if we've verified the IP, we still build a test chip.
responsibility to work with [the IP vendor] in that regard. We find that we have areas where a customer might find a problem and then gets in touch with the vendor. IP vendors are very responsive. If a customer has a question, it will be answered in hours, if not less. It's important for the customers to ask [questions]. [Of course], the integrators must be sure to follow the guidelines [provided by the vendor].
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-- Peggy Aycinena, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.
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