(08/29/2007 5:06 PM EDT) -- EE Times
I received a plethora of e-mails regarding my recent article, entitled "Opinion: Semi IP sector is a lost cause
Then, I asked for the IP vendors themselves to respond to a set of questions. Here's one letter to the editor:Editor,
There are those that say semiconductor intellectual property (Semi IP) is a lost cause. Hmmm. Is this a serious news story about a critical milestone in electronics history or just an attempt to gain readers who have a high accident-onlookers-pity quotient?
Editors facing a deadline need headlines but the truth about Semi IP requires deeper digging. Sure, everyone knows that the standalone IP business model is one of the worst places to be in electronics, despite the handful of very successful IP companies. That's old news. What's more newsworthy is the industry-wide realization that evolutionary forces have squeezed the essence right out of electronic systems into a new standalone or "disaggregated" market.
Semiconductor IP is that essence. As the innovation and real value of every system, whether reusable or resalable, whether in high volume or never in any volume -- this essence exists in the software files which, however abstractly, describe the hardware.
What is interesting is how this IP is viewed by the industry. It is Everything and it is Nothing. It is the green luscious grass on the other side of the fence until you are in its midst (pay at the gate please) and then it is choked with weeds, unmanageable, and -- in some cases -- worth abandoning for the next field over. It is worth billions if you have built a big enough fence around the right fields but worthless if you can't even afford traffic cones to mark off your section of the field.
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