| Paris - The days of the small intellectual-property (IP) core vendor aren't numbered, but customer interest in vendor consolidation makes the survival of startups in this business sector increasingly difficult. |
"I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but the barriers to [market] entry are big," Philippe Magarshack, vice president of central R&D for STMicroelectronics, told a panel at the Design Automation and Test in Europe conference here last month. "I'm interested in long-term relationship, partnership-style." ST is "not interested" in contracting with two guys doing an MPEG decoder in their garage, Magarshack added.
Mike Kaskowitz, vice president and general manager for Mentor Graphics Corp.'s IP division, said, "It's very difficult. When you get to the technical sell, it's tough. They want engineers on site to help them out. That's almost impossible."
Hal Barbour of Cast Inc., a small IP vendor, chimed in from the audience to rebut the notion. "It's not a glorious business; it's a nuts-and-bolts business. For people who have that kind of focus, I don't care how small you are, there's lots of future in the IP business."
While some argued that IP is going to become the forte of the foundries, Kevin Meyer, vice president of marketing and services at foundry Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, said it won't be a complete shift. "I don't see that," he said. "We would prefer to stay on process development and our value-add in that respect. We continue to work with partners on design enablement."