August 16, 2010
The State of IP
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Russ Henke - Contributing Editor

by Russ Henke - Contributing Editor
Posted anew every four weeks or so, the EDA WEEKLY delivers to its readers information concerning the latest happenings in the EDA industry, covering vendors, products, finances and new developments. Frequently, feature articles on selected public or private EDA companies are presented. Brought to you by If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

4. The year-by-year EDAC MSS news releases provide revenue data for the MSS membership as it exists that year. Thus the total revenue number for that year might show growth solely due to adding in the results of new members, even though for example the revenues enjoyed by each member may have declined for that year. It is assumed that revenue history is adjusted and back-calculated for MSS members, to mitigate that effect in each current report of historical revenue performances, but the adjustment is not available those dependent on MSS public news releases alone.

As mentioned earlier in the EDA WEEKLY, the writer has historically been unable to determine if and where the Big 3 EDA vendors (Synopsys, Cadence and Mentor Graphics) publish in their public quarterly financials the amount of their revenues due to IP in total, let alone the breakdown their revenues into any of the five MSS categories. Thus the revenue details associated with IP even within this “oligopoly of three” that dominates the total revenue of the EDA industry, is not visible in the writer's articles or in the public MSS press releases[6]. The writer assumes that the Big 3 are MSS members but cannot be sure to what extent the IP
revenue of the Big 3 is included in revenue reports available to EDAC members.


1. So from the original G8 reports in the quarterly Electronics IP Industry Commentaries, we lost the visibility into LogicVision's revenue and profit performance once LogicVision was acquired by Mentor Graphics in 2009. Virage Logic's acquisition by Synopsys for $315 million (or approximately $289 million net of cash acquired) will swallow up any future visibility of Virage's quarterly revenue and profit data soon; indeed, there may well be no Q2 2010 financial report from Virage Logic. Denali Software, Inc. did not publish its financials in the past, so number-wise its disappearance into Cadence is a wash. We do know that Cadence paid $315 million cash for Denali, so Denali was
arguably as large as Virage Logic.

2. And we have seen that there is no profitability data at all in the public news releases from the EDAC MSS.

Alas, it's this absence of IP financial data from the Big 3 and the absence of IP
profitability data from the public MSS data that frequently elicits the second wry definition of IP by some observers as standing for
“Invisible Profits”.

For knowing profitability is critical information. Choose the combined revenue & profitability of the Electronics IP Industry Commentaries for 2009 as an example. Even with growth of the IP Revenue reported for the G6 in 2009 over 2002, as well as consistent profitability in each quarter of 2009 by ARM and by CEVA, and two quarters out of four by MIPS, the combined G6 delivered losses in three of the four quarters, with only Q4 2009 squeezing barely into the black, ending the 2009 year with a nearly $75 million loss for the G6 combined:

Of course, there's occasionally an anomaly quarter such as Q1 2010, when Rambus' settlement with Samsung created a Rambus profit of over $150 million, a number whose size may erase all the 2010 losses for the remaining G5 for the entire year.

The weakness of the Electronics IP Commentary reports is of course that the set of IP vendors covered is only a slice of the overall IP Industry, and as a result much of the total IP Industry financial data are simply inaccessible.


[1] Footnote: A list of existing IP core vendors from Wikipedia is massive; and the list is divided into some 20 categories already:
  • 1 Analog-to-Digital Converters
  • 2 Broadband modem and error correction
  • 3 Digital Audio
  • 4 DRAM controllers
  • 4.1 DRAM PHYs
  • 5 Ethernet interface controllers
  • 5.1 Ethernet PHYs
  • 6 General purpose microprocessors
  • 7 HDMI
  • 8 ISP
  • 9 I/O pad libraries
  • 10 NAND Flash memory controllers
  • 10.1 NAND Flash memory PHYs
  • 11 On-chip SRAMs
  • 12 On-chip non-volatile memory
  • 13 Phase Locked Loops (PLLs)
  • 14 Security
  • 15 Serial ATA (SATA) controllers
  • 16 Standard cell libraries
  • 17 USB controllers
  • 18 Video processors and computer graphics
  • 19 Video Decoder
  • 20 WiFi interface controllers

  • [2] Footnote: The war in IRAQ started pre-emptively by G.W. Bush over seven (7) years ago in March 2003, is hardly close to being successful or over, as this recent news release attests:
    Al-Qaida plants flag in Baghdad as 23 die in Iraq

    BAGHDAD - Al-Qaida briefly planted its flag in Baghdad on July 29, 2010 as militants killed 23 members of Iraq's security forces across the country in a combination of shootings and roadside bombs demonstrating the dangers the country still faces, despite Bush's departure from the U.S. presidency some 19 months ago, and 88 months since Bush declared “Mission Accomplished” in IRAQ.

    The worst July 26, 2010 attack came in Baghdad's Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah when 16 Iraqi security forces were killed by what appeared to have been coordinated strikes by al-Qaida militants, who then planted their flag close to the blood-soaked site. The daylight attack on the northern district, once an insurgent stronghold, was the boldest move by militants since their commando-style assault on the Central Bank in June 2010 that left 26 people dead during morning rush hour.

    It also suggests the insurgents are looking to regain some sort of foothold in at least part of the capital as the U.S. military presence diminishes and Iraqi security forces still struggle to keep the peace without the ongoing promise of American backup.

    The Azamiyah attack came in what was already a deadly day for Iraq's security forces, which are increasingly being targeted by insurgents as all but 50,000 U.S. troops prepare to leave the country by the end of August, a commitment made by President Barack Obama soon after he was elected at the end of 2008, thereby ceasing the open-ended commitment to stay that his predecessor had made. All American troops are set to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.

    The president is also committed to starting the draw-down the U.S. combat troop involvement in Afghanistan in 2011, a date that would make American involvement in that war 11 years in duration and counting.

    [3] Footnote: The Synopsys acquisition of Virage Logic:

    On June 10, 2010
    Synopsys, Inc. and
    Virage Logic Corporation announced that they had signed a definitive agreement for Synopsys to acquire Virage Logic. Synopsys said that Virage Logic's offerings will complement Synopsys' DesignWare® interface and analog IP portfolio by adding embedded memories with test and repair, non-volatile memories (NVMs), standard cell libraries, and programmable cores for control and multimedia sub-systems. With this acquisition, Synopsys will add to its ability to help design teams achieve their system-on-chip (SoC) development goals by providing them with a more comprehensive portfolio of production-proven, high-quality IP and worldwide technical support.

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    -- Russ Henke, Contributing Editor.


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