"We're engineers, we're not investors. We've been doing it for fun,
we've been growing organically. But to stay relevant, we're going to
have to grow with that risk [and] we have to double every two years,
every process generation, to stay relevant, because companies don't
want to source IP from a small company and other small companies,"
Rogers said. "They want to get everything [from] as few players as they
Meanwhile, established companies are struggling to develop
and maintain their own specialty IP--especially analog IP--and
patents. It mitigates or eliminates their development risk, hence
the reason Analog Bits gets queries from potential buyers.
The IP world has always been a strange place. The technology's value is
undeniable, but how to value it has never been easily resolved
(remember "star IP?"). MIPS and ARM once were the big dogs, but MIPS, a larger IP provider, has struggled in recent
years, while ARM has soared to new heights.
Artisan Components, once an independent and high-flying IP company, was
acquired several years ago by ARM. In many cases, EDA companies' IP
libraries are filled with white-labeled third-party IP (Analog Bits
does Cadence's DDR memory, for example).
How long Analog Bits remains independent is an open question.
They're not rejecting the notion, but neither Rogers nor Tirupattur
is the type to take acquisition money and go sit on a beach with
an umbrella-festooned drink in hand.
@comfortable. Too true! I wonder how those engineer aspirations stack up against other industries? (Of course not every industry has a startup culture, so there'd have to be some apples-apples comparisons... but still... )
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.