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Archive for January, 2015

You Ought To See This Webinar

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Gabe Moretti, Senior Editor

A little over a month ago I wrote a blog about eSilicon’s IP MarketPlace.  On Wednesday January 21st eSilicon will present a webinar on the product.  To register go to: https://esilicon.clickwebinar.com/Try_IP_Before_You_Buy/register.  In case you cannot attend you can always see the webinar at: http://www.esilicon.com/resources/webinars-and-technical-presentations.  Jack Harding, eSilicon CEO, has just published a blog on his company web site that provides the rationale for a product like IP MarketPlace.  I want to quote a couple of fragments from the blog.

Jack writes:” One of my employees recently passed me the article “When Marketing is Strategy” authored by Niraj Dawar in the December 2013 issue of the Harvard Business Review. The essence of the article is that, “The strategic question that drives business today is not ‘What else can we make?’ but ‘What else can we do for our customers?’ Customers and the market—not the factory or the product—now stand at the core of the business.”

And later on he says: “eSilicon finds itself in a familiar place today. True to our original thesis and Mr. Dawar’s crisp description of the phenomenon, we are now leading another strategic shift “downstream” to help shape our customers’ “criteria of purchase.” Namely, we are deploying internet-based tools to redefine the manner in which the semiconductor development world accesses technical and commercial information in a format and structure that they did not request. Just as a fabless ASIC model was not requested.”

Mr. Dawar’s concept is not new, just often forgotten by companies who pay the price for their superficiality.  It is just another way of saying “A company is not in business to make money.  It is in business to give its customers what they need and make money as a consequence.”  I learned that while getting my B.A. in Business Administration.  Some professional sporting an MBA after their name ought to review their course material!

The IP MarketPlace is the third such product deployed by eSilicon.  At a time when the hottest three letter word in electronics is “IoT” that stands for (Internet of Things) eSilicon is leading the use of the “I” part the acronym.  The IP MarketPlace, in fact, will play an important part in facilitating the creation of “Things”.  Efficiency is the best tool to decrease development costs, and the Internet-based tools from eSilicon are the best tools I know to decrease the time and cost of defining, pricing, documenting and scheduling a chip project.  The best part is that using IP MarketPlace is free and simple.  I did it and I am a computer scientist, not an EE.

IP Components Are EDA Tools

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Gabe Moretti, Senior Editor

It has been just about 25 years since the first IP product was licensed and yet there are still questions about the true nature of the IP industry.  A few years ago EDAC started providing figures for IP revenue, and that created a debate that to some extent continues today.  Is an IP company an EDA company?  Some say yes and some strongly object and prefer to define an IP company as a fabless semiconductor company.  Is there a correct definition of the industry that creates IP?  And which IP are we talking about?  EDAC is looking only at hardware IP, but of course there are many software IP products available.  What is IP?  The name itself is not very specific.  IP stands for Intellectual Property, but that covers anything that can be copyrighted, patented, or otherwise claimed to be property that cannot be freely copied, sold, or used without express permission from its creator.  It was not the intention of the creator of the term to cover all those items, but then marketing is a difficult if imprecise, job.

So to make things easier, let’s discuss only about the IP components representing hardware that are used by hardware designers in the design and development of hardware.  Are the producers and vendors of such products EDA companies?  To be sure some EDA companies develop and sell IP.  Cadence, Mentor, and Synopsys call themselves EDA companies and all generate revenue from licensing IP products.  ARM, the leading IP company, sells development software for its products that is just as sophisticated as tools sold by EDA companies, so is ARM an EDA company?

I would like to look at IP in a different light, a point of view I share with Lucio Lanza.  IP components are used by designers in the design and development of electronic products.  The EDA industry’s purpose is to develop and market tools used by designers to design and develop electronic products.  Ergo, IP is an EDA tool.  In fact engineers do not just integrate IP components in their designs.  They use IP in making tradeoff judgments regarding architecture, performance, development cost, and ultimately price of the product they are working on.  IP is indeed an EDA tool, so EDAC is correct in counting the revenue as an EDA industry revenue.

There is also a practical aspect to the argument.  One cannot separate IP revenue from the overall revenues of Cadence, Mentor, or Synopsys, just to take the big three into consideration, without those companies deciding to account for IP revenues as a separate profit center.  And why should they if IP is the same as EDA tools?