There is no doubt that his first-hand experience with those on Team MIPS will form the basis for a stronger MIPS "eco-system" -- which many industry and financial analysts for years have been saying that MIPS sorely needs to nurture.
But, then, what exactly is MIPS doing for Team MIPS?
Vij said MIPS is spending more on its eco-system, with $2 million set aside for the coming quarter. "We are making a critical shift in our mindset. We have a clear understanding that it's not just chips or cores that are important to MIPS, but it's platforms, tools, partners and eco-system" that matter to the future of MIPS.
In the quarter ending Sept. 2009 alone, 126 million chips " based on MIPS " shipped to the market, said Vij. "That speaks volume and momentum behind MIPS." Naturally, the strong unit volume potential is critical for building strong Team MIPS, he added.
MIPS will also make sure that all the major operating systems, middleware and application stacks are supported on MIPS, said Vij. "We also make sure that we have reference designs, and verification tools" that can be shared by Team MIPS.
The key here is "rather than having an individual MIPS licensee go out and do things for itself," he said, MIPS needs to figure out "the Team MIPS approach" that can be effectively shared and implemented among its partners. Vij explained, "I want true collaborations to happen, and a number of leading companies that use MIPS cores to think that it was good to be part of Team MIPS."
Vij believes MIPS was well on its way to pull that off even before his arrival. "Many elements to improve the ecosystem are in place. The company is already committed to good, aggressive roadmaps," said Vij. "The company may have made less effort in sharing them with its customers, but I know the customers will be happy, once they see them."
Taking pages off the playbook at Xilinx
Before Cavium Networks, Vij was on the executive staff of Xilinx Inc. During his 12-year tenure at Xilinx, he is said to have been instrumental in tripling the company's business to over $1.8 billion per year.
At MIPS, Vij won't be shy in taking pages off the playbook he used at Xilinx and Cavium -- namely, bringing products with a high-end market presence down to a higher volume area, making a clear shift in the corporate strategy from a product to "solutions," with an almost fanatical emphasis on software, IP cores and ecosystems necessary in vertical applications.
That's exactly what Vij did in the mid 90's when Xilinx, focused on individual FPGA products, was losing market share. "Those were the days when a lot of people did not believe in low-cost FPGA efforts," recalled Vij. But with the introduction of the Spartan family, Xilinx shifted its effort to a solution-based approach, targeting applications with a low-power footprint, extremely low cost and high volume.
As vice president and general manager of Xilinx' general products divisions, Vij managed all aspects of product planning, IC design, product engineering, technology implementation, manufacturing strategy and marketing.
Vij believes that such a performance-oriented culture "re-ignited" Xilinx. "I've seen it work," he said.
While shrugging off his impressive resume, Vij talks -- with a touch of humility and even a sense of awe -- about the many technologists, founders and CEOs in the Valley who have preceded him.