Cadence's decision to exclude its major competitors from CDNLive! continues its bewildering behavior that ignores functioning traditions in the EDA industry
Judging by the frequency of my comments about Cadence's behavior you would think that I really enjoy beating up EDA vendors, Cadence in particular. I do not. In fact I wish I could always say positive things about our industry, basking in its performance relative to other industries, the semiconductor industry in particular. Unfortunately reality is almost always an obstacle to my dreams. You probably recall how the Cadence saga started: it decided to hold its own event during DAC in a hotel a few blocks from the Moscone center. At the time EDADesignLine did not exist, so I shared my views on my own web site. You can find them at: http://www.gabeoneda.com/node/52?PHPSESSID=a768ade0a184bd4712e23bd6064c8bb3 . The behavior continued during the exhibit floor space selection for next year's DAC. Cadence declined to choose any space. You can read my comments on that decision at: www.deepchip.com/wiretap/060803.html. Now comes the news that Cadence has decided not to invite its three major competitors to exhibit at its CNDLive! event, breaking an industry tradition established since the first users group meeting many years ago. You can read the story in the news section of this site at: www.edadesignline.com/news/192201419. In my first article about the new Cadence behavior I had invited any Cadence spokesperson to explain the decision: none took up the invitation. Dylan McGrath was more fortunate on August 15th. He persuaded someone, who chose to remain anonymous, to explain the CDNLive! decision as follows: "If you continue to do the same things that have never lead to the doubling of the [EDA]industry, it's probably not going to lead to the doubling of the industry".
The strategy has been tried before. In medieval times many towns in Italy and throughout Europe tried to establish "city states". It worked for a while, but was a failure in the long run. I can understand why the Cadence executive team would dream to be like the Medici's in Florence, or may be even the Borgia's in Milan. The former the protector of the arts and prolific supplier of popes, and the latter a military power thanks to a certain Leonardo, and feared by its enemies for their ability to handle poisons. But neither of them got to control even their immediate region, Tuscany and Lombardy respectively, let alone all of Italy. What makes the strategy really unrealistic is that it goes squarely against other Cadence's initiatives: OpenAccess and Power Forward in particular. How can Cadence expect collaboration when it so openly disdains those who are in the most powerful position to help them succeed? Cadence projects the image of a local ruler who, having obtained what he considers the best "color by the numbers" masterpiece, invites its equals to fill their assigned numbered areas with colors dictated by himself.
Doubling of an industry is not achieved by a single company, unless that company has undisputed monopoly over it. Intel at the beginning of the microprocessor era comes to mind. Objectively, Cadence's tactics seem to be aimed more to significantly improving its own profile within the investment community than with doubling of the EDA industry. Showing that the EDA industry does not depend on standards and openness, and that Cadence alone can generate credible revenue growth, will endear financial analysts (some have already fallen in love), will provide a new tale to the less informed investors, and may result in a temporary significant up tick in stock prices so treasured by short term result minded (and rewarded) executives. But it will not strengthen OpenAccess or Power Forward. Just like the fairy tale that 'e' being an IEEE standard justifies its continued existence, so the marketing efforts of Si2 will not be enough to attract a determined effort on the part of the other relevant players in the industry. My advice to Cadence is simple: play nice, share the ball, pick your team wisely making sure that the opponent team does not have all of the star players, and play the game. Your behavior right now could even succeed in Synopsys and Magma making peace in the courts: wouldn't that be something!