|The NVM Insider, Issue 15|
|Page 2 - Executive Opinion|
|Page 3 - Outside Thoughts|
|Page 4 - Sidense Out and About|
The IP market is a niche market, with revenue of about 1% of the overall semiconductor business, but it is highly strategic for the chip makers. IP helps the chip maker to drastically improve their TTM, when buying a commodity function they can concentrate on the part of the design which differentiates them from the competition. When buying an advanced processor core, or a specific controller for the latest Ethernet protocol, to name a few, they can enter a certain market more rapidly and make a breakthrough. Bringing so many advantages, the IP vendors should be very successful! In fact, what we see is an IP market dominated by either real innovators (ARM, Rambus or Silicon Image), or by a large EDA company who has built a strong portfolio by making successive acquisitions (USB, PCIe, DDRn, NVM, Memories, MIPI and mixed signal IP). Then you find a few dozen companies (maybe less) doing well, but no more, on niche markets. What about the other, several hundred companies? Trying to survive ...
What is the problem you have when you need to buy a design IP? There are two major issues that you will face: you need a high quality product, fully verified and easy to integrate, and you want to pay the right price or the market price.
It is very easy to start selling IP - for example some design service companies who have developed a function for a single customer decide to market it as a real IP product. Because the entry cost is low, the IP market is very dynamic. There are many newcomers who can end up being real IP vendors or stay in the market for a couple of years and finally exit. If you start using an interconnect function, say PCI Express, you will probably use it in several generations of products, so your goal is to select a vendor who can support your product roadmap, stay in the market, and follow the PCIe protocol roadmap, generation after generation. With such requirements, you will discover that the short list is reduced considerably.
The goal at SemiWiki is to help you find your way across the IP market and to find the best way to meet your product goals!
About the Author
Eric has over 25 years of experience in the semiconductor industry, focused on ASIC and IP. He is one of the bloggers and a founding member of Semiwiki (www.semiwiki.com). He is also the founder of IPnest, a company which provides strategic consulting and IP-related Market Surveys to high-level customers, IP vendors, chipmakers and foundries, including Synopsys, Cadence, Mentor Graphics, Rambus, Sony, TI, Fujitsu, KSIA, Intel, LSI Logic, MoSys, Snowbush, CAST, Evatronix, Arasan, Mixel, Denali, nSys, Si Foundry, and GUC. Prior to IPnest, Eric was the Worldwide Marketing Director with PLDA, a market leader in PCI-Express Controller IP, and ASIC/ASSP Marketing Manager for North America with Atmel. He has also held various sales and marketing positions with Texas Instruments for many years, focused on ASIC business development. Eric started his career as an ASIC designer, working for Thomson CSF, MHS, ES2, Elecma, and GEC Alsthom. He holds a PhD in Microelectronics from the University of Paris, Descartes.
For more information about IPnest, please visit http://www.ip-nest.com/.