Gabe Moretti, Senior Editor
American companies have been the leaders of the EDA industry since its inception. While in many other industries American companies have lost their advantage over foreign companies, even in areas that are not fabrication intensive, the American EDA companies have continued to lead. Of course the fact that EDA requires very little fabrication helps, but there is more than that to justify such hegemony.
The EDA industry is always presented with the next set of problems to solve by the semiconductors industry. Finding the next product to build is not a matter of marketing research of users tastes, but a matter of evaluating one’s capabilities versus the competition, and products integration. American EDA companies have been very focused on their mission and have avoided growth by entering new markets they did not completely understand. It is true that the largest EDA companies have grown by acquisition, but the growth has been governed by a need to increase the total system solution to be offered to customers. To the financial investment sector they look somewhat boring; but that is a positive aspect, not a negative one. The only a regrettable thing is that consortia like EDAC have so far failed to tell the story of invention and technological skills that characterize EDA companies.
EDA companies have for years worked to change the obsolete immigration policy of the USA. Their advice is so logical tot sound like a foreign language in Washington. Isn’t it better to retain foreign students graduating from American universities to work here, instead of sending them back to their countries to increase the technological knowledge there? The mission should be “made in America”, not “made by Americans”. It is true that EDA companies manage to hire and support the few foreign students they are allowed to sponsor toward a resident visa and thus a path for citizenship, but the numbers are too low.
EDA companies look for creative brains, and when they cannot find them in the USA they look outside. There are many engineering centers around the world that were started by American EDA companies. Not because companies were looking for cheaper employees, but because they needed brains. The development centers continue to participate in the growth of those companies, even if remote centers are more difficult to manage in most cases.
Foreign born nationals have had and continue to have significant careers and leadership positions in American EDA companies. At the moment both Synopsys and Cadence Design Systems are lead by foreign born individuals and so have been and are smaller very successful EDA companies.
The bottom line
The EDA industry should be taken as a model when studying the future world corporation. It is an example of how prejudices were left behind without nostalgia searching for the best possible solution, not the one that conformed to held opinions. A company must be true to its mission, not solely to its bottom line or its popularity with investors at large. American EDA companies have shown that It is possible to create a corporate environment that is familiar to all cultures that facilitates communications and a sense of common purpose among all employees.