There’s always a lot going on in the electronic design industry, but recently it seems particularly active. It’s become a routine of mine to cruise the news feeds we bring into Xuropa to get a sense of what’s going on at different points in the value chain.
Here is a brief snapshop of what I saw today
Looking to the embedded world, there’s an interesting “the news of my demise is greatly exaggerated” post over at the Windows Embedded Blog. After comments about how little Windows CE gets mentioned and a recent New York Times article focuses on Windows 7 for a “small world”, there was some “divining” (”wishing”?) going on in the blogosphere.
According to Mike Hall of Microsoft, they’re hard at work on a new release of the OS right now. Hopefully it fixes all of the bugs that I ran into during my fated experience with it on the HTC Dash. (Bad, bad memories.)
Bringing the methodology and tools of application level software and hardware platform development closer together appears to be paramount when the two are developed by different companies. A point made by Jim Hogan in an interview with Ed Sperling.
Although news of the change in fortune of Steve Job’s health last week was sad, the amount of coverage it received was staggering. Everywhere I turned my radio “dial” on the day of the announcement had it every 15 to 20 minutes. Even the BBC was running it as the top or second news summary item throughout the day.
Now that the dust has settled and the reality of the situation has started to set in, speculation on succession has begun. The clear lesson for the electronic design industry is the process of succession itself. The development of a deep management bench and the instilling of a clear direction and set of corporate values are paramount.
It was a breath of fresh air to read that OneSpin have spun their technology into a family of interoperable formal verification products. The real news was the emphasis on usability they appear to have taken. This is an excellent example of a company that has listened to their customer, really understood the reason for slower-than-liked adoption, and then has done something about it.
Too many EDA companies believe that it’s just “one more feature” that will make all the difference in the world. When in reality it’s the usability of the features they already have and the company’s ability to communicate the value of them that’s at fault.
This reminds me of Beach Solutions, who unfortunately met their demise late last year. They struggled for years with confusing messaging and a technology lead. By the time the products were packaged into something comprehensible to the customer, and the emphasis was moved from “what it is” to “what it does”, it was too late. They’d managed to go from little-to-no engagements to evaluations all over the globe in a matter of months. Unfortunately the EDA sales process and the waning world economy appear to have taken their toll.
The curious thing is the acquisition by Duolog. Given that their new marketing at DAC 2008 was almost identical to Beach’s one would have thought they didn’t need the Beach technology.
There are some more sobering words and grim interpretations about the industry from Gabe Moretti over at EDA Design Line.
ChipMOS files a lien against Spansion inventory and equipment for the $18M it is owed. That’s a tremendous amount of money in any economy, and a sure sign of trouble when vendors start suing customers. There’s also a rumor that Spansion may file Chapter 11.
Technology Sector Jobs
There was some light at the end of the tunnel reported up in Oregon by Mike Rogoway. According to his information, tech industry employment figures for Oregon improved in December. He also has a tally of tech job losses in the state. I wonder if someone is keeping score in Silicon Valley.
EDA Investment & Value
There was a great interview by Ed Sperling of Jim Hogan. He covered many macro-level aspects of the EDA industry from the business model, technical challenges, and industry make-up. More on this interview here.
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