(09/10/2007 3:01 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: To the editor:
One of the biggest design challenges is the increased need for software in today's devices. For most designs at 90nm, 65nm and below, software functionality represents more than 50 percent of the design cost both for SoC semiconductor suppliers and OEM system designers. The software cost of SoCs will continue to increase with the constant demand for greater functionality.
No one company can design everything needed on time in these highly integrated SoCs, so at lower nodes, IP is not a lost cause, as it's a necessity. Processor IP helps by providing standard products like software ABIs, and by offering additional software support from the ecosystem.
To be successful, IP companies must meet three uncompromising conditions. First: provide a set of standard functions; this enables a market. Secondly, a large market opportunity is needed where products provide ''must-have'' versus ''nice-to-have'' features. Finally, you need a significant barrier to entry to establish the value that allows for longer-term ROI.
With processor IP, having the critical software base is key to setting market standards. MIPS Technologies has the crucial software instruction set that we defined and it is protected with patents. The extensive ecosystem developed around our products builds that barrier even higher.
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