(09/24/2007 2:36 AM 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,
Mark LaPedus' opinion piece on the IP sector being a lost cause has caused a lot of stir -- and even the formation of yet another industry group -- over the last 6 weeks, with many good responses to his five pointed questions originally raised. Unfortunately, these questions have caused the discussions to veer away from directly responding to his original assertion, which is, "The semiconductor IP sector is a lost cause."
First, full disclosure. eSilicon is a user of IP. As a value chain producer we must understand not only how to evaluate IP for quality but also understands the nuances of chip level integration involving IP blocks from multiple IP companies. eSilicon does this in the context of the foundry's process and manufacturing rules and quality standards with the prime objective of getting its customers' chips into volume production. In other words, we are on the front lines and have seen hundreds of IP-based design issues.
From that view, the obvious answer to Mark's somewhat rhetorical question, is NO. IP is essential to almost every complex chip in production today, and only increasing in importance. Labeling such a critical component of the semiconductor industry as a "lost cause" makes for catchy headlines but is far from the truth.
The crux of the issue of "survival" comes down to the value and reliability IP delivers as a product or service (and in reality it is both). The suppliers of IP have individual and direct responsibility for this, and no industry organization or consortium can conceal that or help those at the back of the herd survive. As in every other ecosystem, the strongest individuals will survive.
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