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Two sides of the coin: IP vs EDA

Posted: 20 Feb 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IP? EDA? Arteris? Imagination Technology?

Technology goals: EDA tools are primarily designed to improve productivity, although quality of results is also a key objective. IP, on the other hand, is mostly designed to deliver quality of results.

Product risk/bugs: When there is a bug in an EDA tool, it is rarely fatal to the chip project. When there is a bug in IP, it can cause an entire chip to fail. Consequently, there is greater risk aversion in IP adoption compared with EDA tool adoption.

Product integration and ecosystem: In IP, there are multiple stacks from the hardware implementation to high-level software applications. Semiconductor IP has to be designed to integrate into an industry's constantly evolving hardware IP and software ecosystems. EDA tools, on the other hand, are integrated into relatively static design flows meant to connect tools from higher to lower levels of design abstraction.

Business: Sales cycles, decision makers, budgeting processes and support requirements are different. The ecosystems supporting both are also vastly different. Key IP products such as CPUs, GPUs and interconnects are royalty bearing. Conversely, EDA is licensed on a project or subscription basis. This means that EDA sales people have to approach their customers differently than IP sales people. Rarely will you find someone who is equally adept at selling both. There are also great differences in product development approaches, product life cycles and verification. Additionally, licensing terms between the two businesses differ greatly and are about as dissimilar as license fees are to royalties.

IP is not EDA

Even though the histories of the EDA and IP businesses are intertwined, they are not the same. The fact that IP is implemented in a chip necessitates different business models, personnel skills, technologies and company cultures. Anyone who attempts to blindly apply the lessons of EDA history to the IP business will have a very difficult time achieving success.

- Charlie Janac
??EE Times

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