RICHARDSON, Tex. -- Nine-year-old Infinite Technology Corp. (ITC) here believes it's taking a page from the book-publishing model and applying it to DSP-based ICs under a business concept called "SCOPE," for SemiConductor Original Publishing Enterprise.
Under the concept, the Dallas-area company said it works with independent product and software development teams--which it calls "authors"--to have system-on-chip designs placed in semiconductor foundries. These SoC products are based on ITC's reconfigurable RADcore digital signal processor core. The company makes its money buy collecting a per-chip royalty. Portions of royalties are paid back to the author companies.
"Many engineers have the 'great unwritten chip' designed in their heads, but don't want to hassle with starting a company," said Tim Smith, president and chief executive officer of ITC. "So we do that for them. In essence, they write the 'best seller' that we publish, and earn a substantial income from the chip royalties we share with them."
The company believes it is able to tap the talents of the industry's engineers who want to "generate wealth by designing chips, not running companies."
ITC says it publishes the products for hot applications, such as voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) and high-speed digital subscriber line (DSL) communications. "ITC plans to license the end customer with rights to order the manufacture of wafers and services to complete the assembly and test for these products direct from the world's leading foundries, thereby creating a significant savings in overhead expense," said Smith. "This is a powerful cost-savings incentive, especially in high-volume applications."
The company has an agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) to port its RADcore DSP technology library to a 0.25-micron process for SoC designs.
"The semiconductor industry is undergoing what we call a 'dis-integration,' " said Roger Fisher, senior director of marketing at TSMC North America, based in Silicon Valley. "That is, the classic model of one company designing, manufacturing and selling semiconductor technology is breaking down to where, today, several companies, each focusing on their core competencies, are involved in a given semiconductor design.
"ITC's business model reconnects these elements into a unified process," according to Fisher.