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QuickLogic exits mainstream FPGA market

Posted: 31 Aug 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:FPGA market? ASSP? customer specific standard product?

Planning to focus on customer specific standard products (CSSP), QuickLogic Corp. announced it is exiting the FPGA market.

QuickLogic has been selling the PolarPro line of low-power, one-time programmable FPGAs, which competed against products from rivals Actel, Altera, Lattice and Xilinx. In its new business direction, FPGA pioneer QuickLogic will cease future development of the PolarPro line. The company, however, will continue to sell legacy FPGA products to niche-oriented applications in the aerospace, military and related fronts.

"Our focus is not being a mainstream FPGA guy," said E. Thomas Hart, chairman, president and CEO of QuickLogic, during a presentation Aug. 28. The company will instead focus on what it calls CSSPs, which includes a recently-introduced controller line. But the company will no longer develop "mainstream FPGAs" in the market, following an uphill and unsuccessful bid in the competitive sector.

QuickLogic had a tough time competing against what Hart called the "Coke and Pepsi" in FPGAs: Altera and Xilinx. Compared to the FPGA giants, QuickLogic has been a small player in the industry, said Y. Edwin Mok, an analyst with Needham & Co. LCC. "They had a hard time competing against Altera and Xilinx," Mok said.

Lackluster sales
It also appears that QuickLogic bet on the wrong technology. The company announced samples of the PolarPro family in December of 2005 and delivered production silicon in 2006. At the time, the PolarPro family boasted a number of innovative architectural features, including an inactive power consumption of only 10mAand special embedded FIFO controller blocks.

The company had a tough time selling the FPGAs, which are based on a one-time programmable technology, Hart said. Customers wanted "re-programmable" solutions, he added.

Lackluster FPGA sales impacted the bottom line. In July, QuickLogic said revenue for Q2 2007 was $8.4 million, up 35 percent from $6.2 million of the previous quarter and down 9 percent from $9.2 million in Q2 of 2006. The y-on-y decline in revenue was due to lower new product revenue, according to QuickLogic.

New direction
Going forward, the company will focus on CSSPs, a technology somewhat like an ASSP. However, unlike ASSPs "this approach combines the high integration and performance of hard-logic design with the flexibility needed for customization," according to QuickLogic.

The company is positioning PolarPro as a CSSP, but its big product is a host controller for mobile systems. Seeking to solve the "connectivity gap" in handheld products, QuickLogic in March launched a single-chip device into the emerging arena of integrated core-logic or host controllers. The device, called ArcticLink, is an ASSP that can be configured to support several communications and peripheral protocols for handheld systems.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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