Yesterday I read a funny story about an Analog Devices advertisement that literally targets TI. Apparently, the ad includes the GPS coordinates of TI's headquarters.
It's a silly ad, but it got me thinking. I often hear people talking about ADI and TI as if they were the only companies selling DSPs. That's crazy. The #2 seller of general-purpose DSP chips isn't Analog Devices, it's Freescale. Yet I almost never hear people making Freescale-vs.-TI or Freescale-vs.-ADI comparisons.
The ADI-vs.-TI world view gets even more ridiculous if you expand the scope to include DSPs in cellular handsets. For example, Qualcomm had 20% of the cellular baseband market last year. And what about the fact that DSPs increasingly compete with general-purpose processors, FPGAs, and so on? (Here's just one recent example.)
Of course, none of this would matter if this kind of narrow thinking was limited to ad campaigns. Unfortunately, I've seen plenty of cases where a company couldn't think past ADI, TI, or whoever their favorite vendor was. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with sticking with a familiar vendor, and many times this is the right choice. But it's just bad business to ignore the other options. There is too much risk that one of these other options is the superior solution.
Obviously, you can't be an expert on all of the options. But if you want to succeed, you must know what the options are. If you don't, you risk giving your competitors an advantage.