In its effort to pry open the mobile handset market, MIPS thus far
gathered a total of seven mobile customers. These seven licensees are
“currently working on smart phones and media tablets using MIPS cores,”
according to Art Swift, vice president of marketing at MIPS. These seven
do not include companies developing MIPS-based personal media players
or portable GPS, Swift added.
One clear indication of MIPS’ momentum
is the profile of its licensees. “40 percent of MIPS’s customers today
are those who have never done business with MIPS before,” according to
Benchmark’s Mobley, earlier last week noted in his research
note that Beceem, Altair, Sequans, Wintegra, Mavrix and other unnamed
licensees continue to develop basebands based on MIPS processor cores.
“The momentum of the Android operating system, combined with the open
architecture of the OS, is allowing MIPS to penetrate the application
processor market for the first time. We believe the rushed pace of chip
development activity in order to address Android-based smart phones, is
helping catalyze MIPS’ license pipeline,” Mobley explained.
however, just downgraded MIPS today, because he is not sure if MIPS will
be able to take more than 10% market share from ARM in the mobile
application processor and baseband processor markets. But of course, any
such result would take years to materialize, and nobody has set a
deadline for MIPS to reach 10% in the mobile processor (baseband &
Market expectations aside, MIPS is expanding its profit margin.
company’s profit margin is as big as “44 percent per each sales
dollar,” said Vij, making MIPS “one of the most profitable tech
companies today.” That creates more ‘room’ for MIPS to invest further,
MIPS is also hiring.
Although the company
“re-allocated” its resources earlier this year, “We have today more
people – in net – working at MIPS,” said Vij. MIPS hired about 30 people
– including contractors – since the beginning of this year. The company
still has 10 positions open, added Vij.
In sum, MIPS is riding high. CEO Vij had legitimate reason for chest-thumping, if he had so chosen.
‘Companies need to have a soul’
he chose to note during the interview: “You know, we talk about our
technology, products and financial results all the time.” But what’s
rarely talked about is that “companies need to have a soul,” stressed
By “having a soul,” Vij means that the corporation assumes the
responsibility of taking good care of employees and their families; it
knows how to respond to its engineers (“engineers need to see how their
technologies are actually deployed,” said Vij); and it makes sure that
employees embody the company’s values, in word and deed. MIPS has
trusted its employees’ instincts (Android running on MIPS grew from a
“skunkworks” project that started within the company a few years ago,
according to Swift).
MIPS, since Vij took the helm in January, has
been holding a monthly company-wide meeting with all employees present
or dialed in, talking to a key customer, invited by MIPS, about the
real-life use of the MIPS’ core. “Everyone at our company needs to know
how our customers are using our technology, what they like and what they
don’t like. Nothing satisfies engineers more than seeing their
technologies deployed,” said Vij.
While some say that “companies need
to take an active responsibility for their employees’ lives and that
corporations have social responsibilities even when meeting those
responsibilities may cost money” (Leslie Stebbins, the author of “Work
and Family in America,” 2001), this is an idea given more lip service
than commitment by CEOs. When the economy is down and the company starts
struggling, the only corporate “family” most recognize tend to be
investors, shareholders and major players on Wall Street.
Employees, too often, become shirt-tail relatives who never get invited to Thanksgiving dinner.
is not to suggest that Vij is not sincere in his fealty to the real
people in his corporate family who depend on MIPS to make a living.
was visibly exuberant when this reporter met him last week at Nasdaq.
He seemed genuinely happy that he was able to invite his executive team
and each executive’s spouse (and their kids in some cases) to the
opening bell ceremony in the morning. “I am glad we did it,” said Vij,
“because they (families) are the ones who sacrifice.”
But if and when
the going gets tough and MIPS starts feeling pressure from the
financial community – which never saw a layoff or an outsourcing move it
did not love – it will be interesting to see how tenaciously Vij clings
to his altruism.
The Wall Street is a finicky creature. You can’t
win Wall Street’s love forever, either. The case in point is Mobley’s
latest note, downgrading MIPS to hold. There was nothing in Mobley’s
analysis about MIPS’ soul.
But Vij’s idealism has been a faint theme
in the business world since Dickens. If you nurture your company’s
“soul,” you may be able to keep your employees’ faith – for much longer
than the typical soulless corporation, which may reap benefits far
reading this thread makes me realize what the pattern of what a BS CEO is. Sandeep Vij is a BS artist. Companies need leaders with real depth who have done real things that leads to real progress. This guy is a hype monster. find some distance between your wallet and him.
so how is everyone feeling about the soul of ceo vij? companies need a soul but before that they need fundamentals and a business. when you have a loudmouth and a soul in charge, it drives volatility in the market. people value the company on the messenger and not the message behind it. when the message is missing, the messenger is more important and that's the story of hiring this spiritualist to mips. there are no fundamentals for mips-its a dead company.
Ultimately, the job of a corporation is to make money. However, that doesn't mean that it can't or shouldn't have a soul. There are always lines that should not be crossed.
So what happens when cigarette smoking declines in the US? Should the tobacco companies decide that profit is more important than ethics and just push their products harder outside of the US? That's what a profit-first, profit-only organization would do. Would the tobacco companies even survive if they decided that smoking is bad and stopped selling cigarettes?
I'm not going to suggest any more or less legislation in that area, but the point is that there are plenty of companies in existence now that have dramatically changed their business model. Coca Cola didn't go out of business when they stopped putting cocaine into their drink a century ago.
Sometimes ethics are forced upon companies by consumers or the government and sometimes companies live by high ethics on their own. Regardless of whether it's by choice or by law, companies do exist and thrive with a soul. In fact, it's probably much less expensive to put ethics into your corporate culture by choice than let it be forced in by law.
In the extreme of doing business without soul, you get Enron type debacles or Bhopal type disasters.
It's nice to be agreed with, but I am by no means certain that a corporation cannot be both ethical and successful. If a company must be unethical to be successful, then something is drastically wrong, and Polaroid and Kodak are strange outliers indeed. What is a corporation? Better question: who is a corporation? A group of men and women who make decisions. If they routinely make unethical decisions, then they don't need to run a corporation, they need to go to jail.
@Junko: thanks for turning our attention to something other than pure technical discussion in EE Times forums.
I have to agree with many sentiments commentators but I ask this question: if you keep the 'soul' discussion perspective to a global one (as we are compelled to now a days), do you folks think that businesses in countries like China, India , Brazil and others, view employees the same way as MIPS claims it does? If they did, do you think they can survive?
I would have to agree with the views of @BobLacovara and @Doug.Plumb. It is self-contradictory for corporation to be both successful and ethical.
Dr. MP Divakar
When there's no place for ethics in business, then "business" is no better than the socialist state you seem to fear. You will be ruled not by parasitic socialists, but by boardroom thugs. (The only difference is this: in the one you will be miserable, lacking a job or future, in the other, miserable in a dead-end job.) If you doubt this, have a look at the EU. It is largely controlled by its businesses; there's no doubt about this. The result is that much of the EU has a negative population growth (excluding mid-eastern immigrants), and is well on the way to a form of cultural suicide. If you doubt that a corporation can be both successful and ethical, do a bit of reading yourself: I recommend to you the history of Kodak, and also the history of Polaroid, in particular, the actions of Land and his company when he discovered that his products were aiding the South Africans in their concentration camp approach to questions of color.
"Much of the frustration we hear from our engineering audience is this: companies don't realize the value of the great "people" (engineering) assets they have. "
I am indeed amazed at the way bright Engineers are treated by their executive managers in companies in the US and much of the Western World. Often, the assumption that these Business school graduates have is that there is a limitless supply of bright Engineers in the world, and that these should be kept in their places and used for whatever markets dictate to meet financial targets. So far, this has been true thanks to over-supply from India and China in particular, as well as from other parts of the world. But as these places develop, they will keep more of their talents, and supply will become scarce. We'll see what will happen then...
I think relatively small companies can talk and behave in this way, and I am all for it. However, with success comes growth, and with growth comes bureaucracy and hierarchy, and with that companies start to lose their identity and ethos (or "soul" as Sanddep call it). The key is in keeping one's company just small enough to keep its indentity and ethos, and big enough to fend off the big sharks. Easier said than done of course :-)
Business is a form or warfare and there is no place for ethics. Its a place where the virtue of selfishness is the best ethic - except when government gets involved and the glad-handering champagne socialists big government private-public partnerships start trading who they know for super high salaries that have no connection with competence or actual productivity. Read Atlas Shrugged - everyone should. Ayn Rand does a great job of describing corporate corruption and the nature of society today in her 1930's novel.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.