Posts Tagged ‘Simon Segars’
Thursday, November 9th, 2017
Simon Segars has been CEO of UK-based ARM Holdings since 2013. When he first joined the company in 1991, he was employee No. 16, and was there when the company went public in 1998.
Last year, Japan-based SoftBank purchased ARM for $32 billion, just a few days after the Brexit vote, and took the company private. This year, SoftBank sold 25-percent of ARM to Saudi Arabia, in a deal that was part of the company’s (and kingdom’s) Vision Fund juggernaut.
Simon Segars has more than survived all of this change. He is still CEO of the most ubiquitous IP provider in the world, and now also has a seat on the Board of Directors of SoftBank.
As I prepared for my phone call with Segars last week, I was pretty sure he would decline to answer the bulk of the questions on my list. Surprisingly, however, he answered all of them, with ease and on the record. We started with the most astonishing news of all: ARM has changed its name.
Wednesday, July 12th, 2017
It’s been a year since two cataclysmic news bits hit the wires, the two stories not unrelated.
The UK decided to Brexit the EU on 23 June 2016, and ARM announced it had been sold to Tokyo-based SoftBank three weeks later, on 18 July 2016. For some, these developments would have been unthinkable up to the moment they unfolded, but now they’re both a reality.
Article 50 was triggered by the British PM on 29 March 2017, and the UK will no longer be in the EU as of March 2019.
ARM is no longer publicly traded, and although it was once the crown jewel of Britain’s technical portfolio, it is now a wholly owned Japanese enterprise. Or at least it was, until 7 March 2017 when SoftBank announced an even more astonishing bit of news.
Thursday, April 13th, 2017
Something eerie and inexplicable happened on Thursday evening, April 6th. Out of nowhere, an intense storm swept through the Bay Area, unannounced and without warning. The skies darkened, the winds howled, severe rain pelted the crowded, suddenly dangerous freeways, and hundreds of thousands lost power.
Meanwhile, exactly in the midst of the most violent part of this mysterious storm, the CEOs of the four most important companies within the ESD Alliance sat on stools in front of an audience assembled at Synopsys and chatted about this, that, and the other. Seemingly oblivious to the profound violence unleashing itself just outside the windows, they acted as if nothing was amiss.
Everything in the industry – and the world – was in order: Wonderful, with the data pointing continuously up and to the right, and everywhere ample evidence for a bullish, optimistic, and excited outlook on the future of EDA and IP.
No matter that Nature was having its way out there in the darkness, that the U.S. had bombed Syria the hour before their discussion began, that the drumbeat for answers about entanglements with Russia was quickening, or difficult conversations with the President of the PRC were underway that very day in Florida – the CEOs of Synopsys, Cadence, Siemens/Mentor Graphics and SoftBank/ARM sat relaxed and easy, basking in the evident vitality of the EDA and IP industries, and allowing themselves to be shepherded through a congenial confab of confident chit-chat by Ed Sperling of Semiconductor Engineering fame.
That fact that the vagaries of Nature never came into the conversation was not surprising; the fact the Mr. Sperling refused all opportunities to bring what he termed as “politics” into the conversation was quite the opposite. Surprising, that is.
Thursday, February 9th, 2017
This week, the ESD Alliance announced that Sonics CEO Grant Pierce has been elected chair of the organization’s Board of Directors. His election is unique in several ways: Pierce is the first CEO of an IP company to lead the Alliance; he replaces two co-chairs, Cadence CEO Lip-Bu Tan and PDF Solutions, John Kibarian; and he is only the second CEO of a non-publicly traded company to serve as Board Chair, the other being Jasper CEO Kathryn Kranen who took the reins in 2012.
When Pierce and I spoke by phone on Tuesday about his election, he noted the unique circumstances of his new leadership role: “When I joined the board several years ago, it was with the intention to add a new point of view to what was then the EDA Consortium, to help the organization reflect the emerging reality of what was happening in the marketplace with respect to IP companies.
“In some ways, the IP companies consider themselves to be a necessary evil. Every chip developed today involves some sort of third-party IP, so having a place on the Board of the ESD Alliance is essential.”
Thursday, January 19th, 2017
At the ESD Alliance panel on the Cadence campus Wednesday night, it was Vista Ventures’ Jim Hogan who suggested the little open-source processor architecture called RISC-V will prove itself to be a plucky survivor when looming market realities hit 800-pound proprietary vendors like ARM and Intel. Hogan suggested RISC-V is positioned to survive that pending apocalypse just like “the mammals after the asteroid.”
Pretty dramatic stuff.
Hence it should not have been surprising, at the end of the 75-minute discussion on stage between Jim Hogan and Microsemi’s Ted Speers and SiFive’s Yunsup Lee, that I raised my hand and asked why Simon Segars was not in the room. After all, Simon Segars is both CEO of ARM and a key member of the Board of the Alliance that organized the Hogan-Speers-Lee program – a program where the emerging RISC-V movement was described as poised to upend the primacy of ARM etc.
Hogan responded to my question without answering: “Look, ARM is challenging by serving the low-cost processor market. License fees, royalty fees – that is what ARM wants for their low-power edge-based device. I think it was Simon, for example, who started talking to The Street about his economic strategy. It’s not really about what the best technology is, but about the economics. This is what gets the traction, and ARM will respond in an economic way.”
“Yes,” Ted Speers added, “and Intel and Imagination will also respond.”
Monday, July 18th, 2016
Yep, it’s happened. More astonishing than Brexit. Faster than a skyrocketing market cap. Stronger than any ties to Merry Old England, Apple, or ESDA. Able to leap over continents in a single bound.
Holy All-Cash-Deal, Sir Robin, ARM’s been bought by SoftBank!
For a mere 24.3 billion pounds.
Thursday, March 24th, 2016
Luckily, there wasn’t time this week to speak by phone with Mentor Graphics CEO Wally Rhines. After all, who wants to hear bad news in person: EDA has turned south.
Here’s the quote from Rhines included in EDAC’s press release discussing their Market Statistics Service report for Q4_2015:
“After 23 consecutive quarters of growth, the EDA Industry revenues declined slightly in the fourth quarter, compared to a particularly strong Q4 2014. However, industry revenue increased 5 percent for calendar 2015 compared to 2014, and the semiconductor IP and services categories increased in Q4. Geographically, the Asia Pacific region continues to grow, while other regions saw modest declines this quarter.”
Wednesday, September 9th, 2015
ARM must be doing something right when among the eight corporate sponsors for their upcoming Silicon Valley users conference in November, the top three companies in EDA are listed as Diamond or Platinum.
Cadence is Diamond, undoubtedly, because company President & CEO Lip-Bu Tan is co-chair of EDAC, and ARM CEO Simon Segars is on the EDAC Board. But why would Mentor and Synposys spend good money being Platinum sponsors of ARM’s show when they could put that particular chunk of disposable income into their own user conferences, or even DAC? Particularly since Mentor and Synopsys sell IP, as does Cadence, so in some ways the three EDA companies may actually be competing with ARM.
There are three possible answers: A) Mentor, Synopsys, and Cadence serve as channels for ARM products. B) Mentor, Synopsys, and Cadence want to see, and be seen by, ARM’s enormous worldwide customer base. C) ARM has the winning hand in today’s semiconductor supply chain, so either the Big Three in EDA pony up to help sponsor ARM TechCon, or the UK-based IP behemoth won’t cooperate in the EDA world; they won’t offer pointers or tool-development advice for the third-party design software that EDA vendors sell and ARM customers [might] buy.
Thursday, November 20th, 2014
Randy Smith bring a lot of humanity to his role as Vice President of Marketing at Sonics, and a lot of frequent flier miles. The day after we spoke by phone last week, he was set to fly to Japan for a week on business. When I asked if Japan was a new destination for him, he laughed.
“I’ve been to Japan over 150 times,” he said, “and because of that, I have lifelong business relationships there, having worked closely with customers, EDA vendors, design services and IP providers. That’s why my business card used to say ‘Randysan Marketing’. I always look forward to going to Japan, because it gives me the opportunity to touch bases with customers there and to [reconnect] with colleagues.”
Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
As the trading day in New York draws to a close, it would appear that some analysts are correct; the market’s not too pleased about yesterday’s announcement that Cadence is acquiring Tensilica. Shares of CDNS are trading down well over 3% today. But you know, the market’s stupid. They understand zip zero nada about EDA or IP, and really why should they?
After all, EDA and IP providers make the black magic that they do look so easy. And, they’re constantly telling people that what they do isn’t rocket science. But it is! The EDA vendors make the tools that IP vendors use to create their products, and designers use to integrate said IP into the larger designs. It’s called an eco-system and it is rocket science.
It’s also on the level of brain surgery, quantum physics, and a bunch of other esoteric science and engineering disciplines that require a lot of education and and a lot of OJT, and even then is really hard to do. How many traders on Wall Street, or the analysts who track it all, really understand what EDA and/or IP are all about? Exactly!