October 03, 2005
Catching Up with MIPS
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Where are they located? Are they spread around?
The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that some of them are located in Lake Oswego, Oregon. They have various people doing remote commuting from other places in the country. They will be maintaining their core group in Oregon.
How big a group is it?
The whole company is around 10 people.
Do you see any challenges in managing a remote development operation?
No, because we have been working with them the last six years. We've worked extremely close with them and have for a number of years. It's not like we went out and bought a company where we don't know the people individually. For a number of years we have been working closely and effectively with them.
I would also note that we acquired another company, Algorithmics, a few years ago. They're a similar acquisition in terms of size and scope. They are located outside of Cambridge. So we have some experience in working with teams like this and doing joint development over a distance.
Mike: That is Cambridge UK not Cambridge, Mass. They report to me directly. Between video conferences, phone calls and my trips to the UK on a regular basis, we actually know how to do geographically distributed management.
You have introduced new products this year. Where do you see MIPS or the industry going from a technology perspective?
go to a standard architecture like MIPS. If you add up those three things together; again the migration from 16 to 32 and 64 bit, the fastest growing markets in silicon being the embedded markets, and people moving from proprietary architectures to standard architectures, I think we see a terrific opportunity in front of us.
design with multiple cores or multithreading or even multiple cores that are built using multithreading.
Whom do you see as commercial competitors?
Predominantly people think of ARM and MIPS first. You also have Power PC though they aren't 100% focused on this. It's just another thing that they do but they have some good products in certain areas. There is a whole host of also-rans that either haven't got any focus or traction. People like FH's product I think are still used some places but there's not a lot of development activity. We don't see them a lot. There are small competitors like Tensilica and ARC International that haven't been able to get much traction. Occasionally we'll see them but they tend to be more price competitors than technology competitors for us today.
ARM is fairly sizeable. How do you differentiate yourself from them?
we optimize for speed, we are probably close to 600 dmips where ARM optimized for speed is closer to 400 dmips. We're still smaller at that as well, so we might be roughly short of 6mm and they are 7mm. Again when you optimize for size we're still 450 dmips and they are around 400 dmips. That's the way you differentiate. When you get out and talk to CEOs of companies and get them to really understand the performance and application advantage they can get and cost advantage, it's been a terrific way for us to demonstrate the differentiation and a perfect example of answering your question.
ARM is a lot bigger than MIPS. Is that because they have a lot of business in areas that do not overlap MIPS?
when you look at the financials. That's my point. They are clearly participating in some areas like with the Artisan acquisition where we're partnering with companies like Artisan and Virage more specifically. It's not a part of our company.
How significant is your recent announcement of an alliance with Virage?
To come to market with compelling solutions you need a collection of IP that you can integrate quickly and get to market. Having a close relationship with companies like Virage, EDA companies like Magma, Synopsys and Cadence and other IP providers allows you to be able to do some of the front work in integration and collaboration that allow customers to be able to differentiate and get to market a lot quicker. That's to a large degree what the partnerships that we do are like and certainly that's what the Virage partnership and announcement is about.
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