By Peggy Aycinenaedadesignline.com (July 01, 2009)
Things have turned deadly serious this week between two major players in the ESL market, Mentor Graphics and Forte Design Systems.
Both companies made significant product announcements on July 29th, and now it's a to-the-death struggle for ESL hearts and minds between Mentor's flagship product, Catapult C, and Forte's flagship product, Cynthesizer. Only one product, and possibly only one company, is going to survive.
Of course, when you talk to reps from Mentor and Forte in person, the combatants don't describe the situation quite so dramatically; their battle lines are more vaguely drawn. Short of similarly describing Catapult C and Cynthesizer as "high-level synthesis tools" — Catapult C synthesizes RTL from Ansi C++, while Cynthesizer synthesizes RTL from SystemC — the terminologies used by the two companies barely overlap.
When I spoke by phone to both Mentor and Forte about their latest announcements — Mentor VP/GM Simon Bloch and Product Line Director Shawn McCloud on one call, and Forte VP of Sales & Marketing Brett Cline on another — the messaging behind their respective tools was sufficiently distinct that it was hard to tell if these guys really compete.
But on closer inspection, Catapult C and Cynthesizer are indeed locked in mortal combat. Mentor and Forte are not just differentiating product features when they use varying vocabularies to describe their tools; they're in fact attempting to wrest control of the fundamental definitions of ESL. Win that battle, and they know they'll win the war.
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