By Gabe Moretti
March 29, 2008 -- edadesignline.com
After I wrote about Synopsys acquisition of Synplicity (see My blog
) a person from the investment community wrote to me to ask about the antitrust / anticompetitive effects of this transaction. The answer is that there are none because the number of players in the specific market has not changed. Synonpsys simply replaces Synplicity in this particular market. So there is really not enough ground to start an antitrust procedure because there is no consolidation and the level of difficulty for a third party to enter this market has not changed significantly. Synopsys sales organization will have to prove that it can, in fact, either maintain or increase market share after the acquisition.
More interesting, though, is to look at the effect of the acquisition on the total EDA market, as another reader encourages me to do. Here things are getting interesting, because Synplicity has a position in the prototyping market, due mostly to its acquisition of HARDI Electronics last year. The result is that the acquisition enables Synopsys to strengthen its position in the prototyping market segments because it will increase the value of its Virtio acquisition a couple of years ago. This will certainly strengthen Synopsys offering in the ASIC design space. Mentor is of course an important player in the market, and has just introduced another product targeting the rapid growing of multi-core design. (see Mentor's Codelink).
There is an important, although often glossed over, distinction between the terms "virtual prototyping" and "virtual platform". Virtual prototyping is a design technique used to develop systems on chip, some of which are platforms. A virtual platform is a model of a computing platform, offered by companies like ARM and MIPS for example, that may be used in virtual prototyping.
Two issues continue to rattle in my mind as I thought more about the impact of the acquisition on the EDA industry. Should Cadence continue to serve the virtual prototyping market solely with its Palladium and Xtreme acceleration/emulation products, and how would EVE react to the acquisition?
As for Cadence, I do not pretend to have a direct channel to the seat of decision making in that company. In fact, it is the only large EDA company that habitually makes it as difficult as possible for me to talk to any of its executives. But were I in one of the numerous pairs( according to Michael Santarini who did the inventory) of Mike Fister's shoes, I would take a close look at EVE's possible fit into the Cadence juggernaut.
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