NEW YORK Semiconductor IP vendor Virage Logic, whose quarterly revenue is less than one-fifth that of processor IP giant ARM, may be "off the radar" among investors and media. But its ideas and ambitions are as big as anybody's, according to the company's CEO Bob Shubat who talked to EE Times this week.
For starters, Virage Logic no longer sees itself as just a provider of a collection of semiconductor IP cores. Instead, it's betting on a future of becoming a supplier of "subsystems" that can be quickly, painlessly and deeply embedded in SoCs for its licensees.
Further, the company is said to be prepared to offer just about everything chip vendors need to succeed in their SoC business.
That includes: a close partnership with foundries on the next-generation process node; investment in tools for design for yield and design for test; a design team to integrate IP cores and build SoCs; and a dedicated team to maintain and refresh IPs; and disperse those IPs across different subsystems.
A good example is Virage Logic's announcement Tuesday (April 13th).
The new agreement with TSMC offers a full suite of 28-nanometer memory compilers and logic libraries on TSMC's High-K metal gate (28nm HP) process. The IP supplier, through its close relationship with TSMC, hopes to enable the advanced 28nm design for early industry adopters -- at "low risk."
Virage Logic's new arrangement with TSMC on 28nm, followed by its 40nm success, is noteworthy. But the announcement alone hardly paints a full picture of Virage Logic's ambitions.
As Mike Crawford, a senior analyst at B. Riley & Co., put it, Virage Logic is "a full-fledged SoC IP enabler, supplying everything from memory compilers and logic libraries to I/O interfaces and processor cores."
Today, Virage Logic offers IPs for configurable CPU/DSP cores, interface IPs (PCI Express, MIPI, HDMI, DVI, DsiplayPort and memory interface designs), embedded SRAMs and Non Volatile Memories.
In a nutshell, Virage Logic is armed with "the broadest IP portfolio in the semiconductor industry," claimed Virage Logic CEO Shubat, thanks to the company's acquisition binge over the last few years.
The company's spending spree bought Virage Logic Ingot Systems (Double Data Rate controller PHY and Delay Locked Loop IP), in the summer of 2007. A year later, it acquired Impinj's NVM. A licensing agreement with AMD followed in January, 2009, enabling Virage Logic to license rights for standards-based, serial interface IPs.
Finally, Virage Logic bought ARC International last September, allowing entry into the processor core IP market.
But the critical change came only when the company successfully crafted an "innovative" deal with NXP Semiconductors lastfall, according Shubat.