Just posted an interview with the Cadence Social Media team on State of the Media. Cadence has been playing in the SM fields for some time and is predicting even bigger things in the coming months. A lot of what they do should be copied. What shouldn’t be…. well I’ll talk about that later.
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A few weeks ago I went to the ARM TechCon3, formerly the ARM Developer Conference (Still can’t figure out why they changed the name, now it makes no sense). I went because I was getting a flood of requests for interviews for New Tech Press. When I was plowing through the information, none of it really caught my attention, but the PR guy for Imagination Technologies was particularly persistent. When I asked for some details about what we might talk about, he directed me to a couple of web pages with typical marketing blather: lots of unsubstantiated hyperbole, or as the Bard put it “sound and fury signifying nothing.”
I decided to go to the conference armed with the marketing crap and start asking questions based on the material and see what would come out of it.
I was pleasantly surprised that Peter McGuinness of Imagination Technologies was actually able to answer my questions intelligently and convincingly. He was the only one I met who could. Well done, Peter. I actually learned something. Imagination Technologies supplies IP to large processor companies like TI and Freescale to help them eat away at market share from Nvidia in the handheld market. They seem to be doing it well. Here’s the interview.
I’ve taken a few weeks to ponder what I learned in all the interviews I did at DAC and have put them into this final podcast on what we might see happen in the next 12 months. There are some very good things happening in EDA and some very bad things. Here’s hoping you’re on the right track.
When I started these interviews at DAC my first was with Rajeev Madhavan of Magma where we discussed where EDA has gone wrong, along with the perceived controversy over Magma’s finances. I wasn’t expecting to wrap up this series with Rajeev again until I listened to his keynote at the EE Times Virtual Conference on SoC design. In his address were two items that made my ears pick up: the fact that the cost of designing SoCs has gone beyond the potential for profit and that drastic changes have to be made in the way the industry does business. In our discussion, he flat out said that EDA tools need to give semiconductor companies the ability to reduce headcount, not just make engineering staff more efficient. Bold words and maybe a bold vision for EDA. Here’s the interview.
This is an unsponsored podcast from New Tech Press
After I finished meeting with EDA companies at DAC, I sat down with Gary Smith of GarySmithEDA to talk about how DAC went and where he saw the industry going. Gary has long been an advocate of Electronic System Level design methodology and has said it was the coming thing for many years. He still sees that to be true, but no sees it as crucial for the survival of the industry now. He expects customers will come back to DAC in larger numbers once the industry decides to focus on ESL and de-emphasizes RTL. He also warned that startups still focused on RTL tools may not survive long enough to make the next DAC. Here’s the interview.
This is a non-sponsored podcast from New Tech Press
Ghislain Kaiser, CEO of Docea Power was my last vendor interview at DAC and one of my favorites because, well, he’s a new face in EDA and he has such a great name. It’s nice to see someone other than the usual suspects.
Docea tools help designers explore low-power architecture, with a focus on hardware/software partitioning and “support of the modern and powerful power management techniques,” whatever that means. It’s a cool technology and addresses a significant issue in engineering efficiency for SoC design.
Unfortunately, Kaiser was not able to give me a hard, bottom line accounting of what the tool does for profitability. It’s still just about the engineer and not the bottom line. Here’s the interview.
My search for financial significance in EDA took me to Dr. Martin Vlach, CEO of Lynguent. Their website states that:
“Lynguent was created because we believed we can improve your AMS design flow, improving your productivity and reducing overall engineering and manufacturing costs.”
Talking to Dr. Vlach you know you’re talking to a guy who knows his technology and that it provides value to customers. When pressed, however, he said the actual monetary significance of their product was “beyond what he thinks about.” He cares about making engineers efficient, which is a great thing. But it doesn’t help the CFO much. Here’s The Interview.
OK, NOW we’re talking. I talked with Dermott Lynch, vice president of marketing for Silicon Frontline Technology about the company’s parasitic extraction technology and got the usual pitch about what was obviously a very innovative product. That’s what you come to expect from an EDA startup: great technology. Then I asked the question no one likes. I asked how much this tool meant to the bottom line for a fabless company. AND I GOT AN ANSWER! Could have knocked me over with a balled up sock. The Silicon Frontline tool shears off more than 5 percent of the cost of bringing a new chip to market. When the minimum cost of making a new chip is $50 million, that is significant. Well done, Dermott. Here’s the link to the interview.
Greg Lebsack took the reigns as CEO of Tanner EDA less than four months ago, and still had time to talk to us at New Tech Press. He came over from the same position at ASP Global Services (SaaS supply chain software) and says EDA is an industry with “potential for growth” which either means he’s smoking something really interesting, or he sees something a lot of people are missing. At least it’s good to hear from someone with a fresh perspective.
The BIGGEST news coming out of the Design Automation Conference this week has been the audit report on Magma Design Automation questioning whether the beleaguered EDA company can survive another 12 months. At least, that’s the way the story came out in EE Times.
Now, when I read the story, I knew that what was happening was pretty much pro forma when a company is restructuring debt. You kinda gotta say that unless you do the restructuring it could cause some problems. And when you are a public company, you gotta come out and report it when and independent auditor says it. I’ll have to say that coming out with the report on the first day of your industry’s biggest trade show probably wasn’t the best timing, but you gotta do what you gotta do when you gotta do it.
As luck would have it, I was scheduled to do an podcast interview with Rajeev Madhavan, CEO of Magma, the day after the announcement. And that’s what I have for you today. Rajeev not only explained what the details of Magma’s financial status, but also went into a detailed explanation of where Magma is going, admitted they have done a crumby job of explaining their value proposition to customers, and that their technology and business houses were out of order. Then he went off on the rest of the industry, its brain-dead approach to marketing, potentially fatal business practices, the financial health of the industry as a whole, the future of the semiconductor industry …
It was an exhausting 18 minutes. And well worth listening to.