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Cadence users mixed on tools and services, survey says

Posted: 20 Sep 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:cadence? assure? synopsys? analog ic? digital ic?

Cadence users ranked First Encounter as its best tool and Assura as its worst and said they like local but not hot-line support, according to a user study presented Sept. 14 at the Cadence Users Group meeting.

The event is sponsored by ESNUG and deepchip.com proprietor John Cooley. Cooley conducts an annual study based on a survey of Synopsys Users Group (SNUG) attendees, the most recent of which was published last month. This year, Cadence's marketing department asked Cooley to conduct a similar survey for Cadence's user conference. Cadence's new president and CEO, Mike Fister, will deliver the keynote during the final day of the meeting, addressing some of the critical comments found in the survey. Cooley sent out the questionnaire out on Sept. 2. He said the study is based on the responses of 100 to 120 users after he excluded roughly 60 responses some of which were from competing vendors and all responses that came via Yahoo e-mail.

The survey did not ask respondents for their job titles, company size or EDA budget, nor did it ask if respondents use or work with analog IC, digital IC or PCB technologies.

Still. some important respondent data could be inferred from questions about which tools users liked and disliked. That data indicates digital and analog IC designers made up the overwhelming majority of respondents, with only a dozen or so responses from PCB designers.

Cooley said there were as many respondents who said they were "most satisfied" with Cadence IC tools as there were respondents "least satisfied" with the same IC tools.

First Encounter, NC-Verilog (NC-Sim), Virtuoso and Conformal were among the tools users said they were "most satisfied" with. Meanwhile, Assura and OrCAD ranked as the Cadence tools users were least satisfied with.

Cooley said Cadence OrCAD PCB customers seemed the least satisfied of its users. That largely reflected Cadence's move over the last few years to vacate the "off-the-shelf" PCB tool market, handing the business to a reseller, EMA Design Automation. The survey also showed that users were generally happy with their "local support" from Cadence, but critical of hot-line support, which is now centralized in India. "Local support is awesome, they even came to my wedding," wrote one respondent from Minnesota.

Cooley noted that the amount of support a customer received was proportional to the amount of money they spent or could potentially spend on Cadence tools. "You gotta pay for your love," wrote one respondent.

One respondent bemoaned the fact that he had to pay an extra fee to reestablish OrCAD upgrade and maintenance.

Conversely, one user at a large company commented that Cadence support would "stick around even if he didn't have any requests." On the opposite side of the budget spectrum, 8 percent of hot-line users said they got responses in months, and 16 percent said they never received responses. Twenty-two percent of respondents said said they received a response in hours. Customers also generally stated that Cadence's leaner design services group is also meaner, with many noting that while it remains expensive, the services group did excellent work.

Cadence users also said the company is becoming more aggressive than competitors. One user said Synopsys is now considered the "stodgy" company, and is "slow to change."

Cooley plans to release in-depth results in early November on the deepchip.com site.

- Mike Santarini

EE Times





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