When Cadence Design Systems said last week it was getting back into the business of supplying intellectual property (IP), my first reaction was: “Oh look, they’ve reinvented Tality.” I wasn’t alone. Just about everyone who I talked to afterwards before and during the International Electronics Forum in Dresden said more or less the same thing: “It’s Tality all over again.”
Back in the late 1990s, as startups rushed to get chips into the market and cash out with an initial public offering (IPO), the Tality subsidiary seemed to Cadence a good way to get more money out of the design business. Tality was to be a ‘design factory’ for chips. You came in with an idea, Tality - for a fee - provided you with the chip design that you could then get fabbed at a foundry.
There was only one problem: Tality lost money on the deal. It could never charge enough to cover its costs and, eventually, the whole operation was wound up or sold off in bits.
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