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 What Would Joe Do?
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at www.aycinena.com. She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

Synopsys: Is 40 the new 20?

 
January 19th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena


Synopsys is undergoing a massive reset.
Where not so long ago, it self-identified as the largest EDA company in the world, other words are now used to describe the enterprise: “Synopsys is at the forefront of Smart, Secure Everything with the world’s most advanced tools for silicon chip design, verification, IP integration, and application security testing.”

As compelling as that description may be, some observers are questioning whether the marked differences between maintaining expertise in chip design, verification, IP, and IP integration versus maintaining expertise in software integrity are too wide to make for easy co-habitation under one corporate roof.

Some would say putting EDA and chip design together with software security is not a good recipe for the long-term success of the company. But are these critics correct?

Certainly many large companies have multiple silos of technical excellence that distinctly do not overlap, yet the companies succeed. GE is one such company, a huge corporation with many diverse areas of emphasis.

So why is the expansion of Synopsys beyond its traditional provenance within EDA tools and IP for chip design to be questioned?

Perhaps it’s because Synopsys is nowhere as big an organization as GE. Perhaps it’s because the people at Synopsys involved in software integrity have come to the organization through the acquisition of Coverity in 2014, and subsequent acquisitions, and are not long-time members of the Synopsys family.

Perhaps it’s because hardware engineers don’t want to be bothered with too much exposure to the software that’s going to sit on the hardware they’re designing; siphoning concerns away from their needs might pose a risk. Perhaps it’s because change is hard, always hard, while the status quo is so much more comforting.

Whatever the cause for concern to observers of the company, the leadership at Synopsys seems unconcerned.

In these last several months alone, the company has announced acquisition of the assets of Netherlands-based Forcheck, a software company that provides code defect and anomaly detection in Fortran applications; acquired Cigital, which specializes in software security management and services; and acquired Codiscope, which provides security tools “complementary” to Cigital’s.

And now this week, Synopsys has announced the latest release of Coverity’s static analysis tool, complete “with enhanced security analysis for mobile and web applications.”

All of this – news about Forcheck, Cigital, Codiscope, and Coverity – falls within the new center of expertise within Synopsys, that revolving around software integrity. Clearly, the management of Synopsys is not concerned about diluting the company’s EDA/IP market message by moving so aggressively into this new area.

It’s also clear that the stock holders are not concerned either. Since the Coverity acquisition 3 years ago, SNPS has seen a 50-percent uptick in value, an unambiguous endorsement of the new direction set by Company management.

Yes, change is hard and Synopsys is changing.

The company is now moving into its fourth decade and perhaps, rather than simply accepting middle-age, the management wants to prove to the world – and to itself – that 40 is indeed the new 20.


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