On January 16, Tektronix announced that it had acquired Picosecond Pulse Labs, a maker of pulse generators, pattern generators, error detectors, BERTs, and other test instruments. You may recall that Tektronix acquired Synthesys Research, maker of the BERTScope, in 2010.
The Picosecond acquisition -- which probably took more than a picosecond to negotiate -- combined with the BERTScope acquisition, puts Tektronix in a stronger position against rival Agilent (soon to be Keysight), which has been in the oscilloscope, BERT, and pulse/pattern generator markets for years. With both Tektronix and Picosecond exhibiting at DesignCon next week, there should be more to hear regarding the acquisition. In the meantime, I asked a few questions of Brian Reich, general manager, Performance Oscilloscopes, at Tektronix, about the acquisition.
Martin Rowe: Tektronix acquired Synthesys Research a few years ago. Why acquire Picosecond if you already have a line of BERTs?
Brian Reich: Picosecond brings multi-channel capabilities to our growing BERT portfolio. Multi-channel testing is becoming more critical as the 25 Gbit/s designs are going parallel (4x25), and our datacom customers need to validate silicon and transceivers in their labs and on the production floor.
MR: Engineers use pulse and pattern generators and BERTs with Tektronix scopes now. Will these products be made to work more closely with Tek scopes?
BR: With 2+ years of experience as a provider of BERTScopes and Tektronix scopes, our focus on the customer has led to BERT and Scope integration in our Tx- and Rx-based solutions for USB3.0 and PCI Express 3.0. We expect to continue this with Picosecond products and our BERTs in the datacom customer segment going forward. More insight on that will be evident at OFC 2014 in March.
MR: Will the Picosecond brand remain intact? Or will products be folded into Tek like BERTscope?
BR: Picosecond’s products will become part of the Tektronix brand moving forward.
MR: Will emphasis on Picosecond products other than BERTs (pulse generators, for example) change? Or will Tek continue to support those products as well?
BR: We will continue to support and invest in the pulse generator and components business.
MR: Will Picosecond products continue to be made and supported in the current Boulder, Col., facility? Or will that move to Beaverton, Ore.?
BR: The facility in Boulder will remain.
MR: How will Tek sell Picosecond products -- through distribution or direct sales? Will that change from how products are currently sold?
BR: Similar to our current BERT products, the new products as part of this acquisition will be sold through our direct sales channel worldwide and through full portfolio distribution partners in countries where we use them.
MR: Who should people call for sales and support of Picosecond products?
BR: Customers should continue to work through their Picosecond Pulse Labs representatives.