Cool stuff you might have missed at Design West, 2013

By Lou CoveyEditorial Director

Every year I go to Design West in San Jose to look for the cool geeky products and displays that you aren't "officially" supposed to be there to check out, because you're supposed to be doing work related research.  This year, it was either a little tougher to find this information or their just wasn't as much, but I found three off-the-beaten track exhibits that you might have missed.  They included an android-based streaming media device that could be used to bypass the movie service in hotels; a device that you can use as a low-cost, DIY car locator (take that Lo Jack); and an honest-to-gosh Enigma Machine from World War II.  Check it out.




Quest for the $10K chip: Services are a mature niche

Continuing on our series on reducing the cost of semiconductor design and manufacturing, we interviewed Josh Lee, CEO of Uniquify, on the design services niche.  Lee took mild exception on Gary's Smith's definition of the niche becoming a "wild west" of competition saying the combination of IP integration with services has created a mature industry that is competitive but also crucial to creating new products in absence of venture capital involvement.

Gary Smith, ESL and the Quest for the $10K Chip

In part two of our Quest for the 10K chip series, EDA Analyst Gary Smith discusses the need for ESL, how it will reduce the cost of designs, and why the time is right for ESL to be implemented now. Smith says in the past, we’ve leveraged IP reuse as a way to solve our design challenges, but we are now seeing 100 block designs with 100 million gate counts; IP reuse alone will not solve these challenges. In this video Smith discusses what he sees coming next to solve these challenges.

See Part 1 here.


Best of Show at ARM TechCon 2012

The increased interest in reducing the cost of development in mobile products was highlighted by two little noticed awards at the ARM TechCon this week in Santa Clara. Qualcomm won “best in show” for hardware for their involvement in the DragonBoard development kit from Intrinsyc, and newcomer Esencia Technologies for software with their new support for floating-point architecture support. Intrinsyc introduced the development kit earlier this year and is on a trade-show road trip hawking the $500 board to anyone who will listen.  Unlike most of the development kits coming out recently (e.g. Raspberry Pi and Adapteva’s Parallellla), this one is specifically focused on products using android linux-based software and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor.

Esencia Technologies’ upgrade is a bit more broad in it application, opening up innovative uses of floating point arithmetic for wireless networking, voice and sound processing.  EScalaPlus scalable Floating Point Architecture (FPA) opening effective FPA to new, growing applications. EScalaPlus supports up to 32 concurrent IEEE-754 floating point operations (FLOPs) per cycle. To keep area requirements low EScalaPlus offers the ability to optimize for operations strictly required by the application software and automatically removes unused hardware resources.

See an interview with Esencia’s Karl Kaiser here.


me!box Media changes game for social video

Product ReviewBy Lou Covey, New Tech Press Editorial Director

Video has become an increasingly significant part social media because it has a lot going for it.

First, it is passively engaging, just like television. The developed world is used to plopping in front of a screen and allow two dimensional images entertain, inform and cajole us into specific action. We are more likely to consume advertising content through video then we are through print which makes it the most valuable advertising platform. Second, it is ubiquitous. You don’t see many people walking down the street reading a newspaper or magazine. That usually requires a cup of coffee, a sidewalk cafe and about 30 quiet minutes. It is not unusual, however, to see someone walking down the street, watching a podcast on a mobile device. About 5 years ago I was taking the train to San Francisco riding in the upper deck and looked down to see a dozen people on the train watching video on phones and iPods. I knew video had jumped the chasm at that point.

But the passivity of the viewer is the one thing that makes it a negative. There is no easy call to action as there is with online text. You can embed links into the text, making it easy for the audience to go deeper into your content. You can collect much more data from a text document than you can from a video.

Me!box Media has changed that.

me!box is a video platform that allows producers to embed links, documents, other videos... any kind of link you would put into a text document... into a video (See how we did it here.)

The platform adds a relatively small bar on the right of the video. Links appear in sequence to when they are mentioned in the video. The platform allows the producer to stop the video at specific points, if necessary to allow the audience to view the additional content, or to let the video continue on as the audience looks at additional visual content.

There are some video platforms that offer this type of feature on a very limited level. For example, Youtube allows you to embed links to other Youtube videos, or become subscribers to specific channels. But no platform I’ve been able to find creates the level of engagement that me!box provides.

This is not an experimental platform. HP and Intel have used me!box for their training programs and me!box Media is talking to B2B publishing companies about incorporating the platform into their online publications. This latter use is where I see the real value.

Footwasher Media did several NTP video interviews that were shared with multiple publications last year. The online editors love them because they produced high traffic, and in fact, the produce high traffic on the sponsor sites that ran them as well. But the love wasn’t there among the sponsors for the very reason that engagement was only passive. The clients preferred the text content because it drove active engagement by the audience.

Video is high value to online publications because it keeps people on the page, but it is low value to many advertisers because it doesn’t drive people to their sites or material. You can insert ads into the video, but, again, there is no active engagement. Using me!box, publications can have the high, passive engagement of the video, which creates more impressions, but advertisers can get traffic directly from the video, get the audience to download additional content and actively share.

One downside to the publishers is that they may have to do a page redesign to accommodate the expanded width of the me!box platform.

“We don’t call it a redesign,” Me!box Media CEO Mark Jacobs told me. “ we say we are opening a larger value-add space.”

Jacobs has the data to back up the definition. Me!box videos get twice the play time, three times the engagement and and sharing, and up to five times the clocks-to-action and impressions of YouTube or Brightcove videos (see chart), according to Jacobs.

“Typically, the me!box space becomes the highest return per square inch on a page. It’s like throwing out a free newspaper rack and replacing it with a video vending machine.”

Other than the rather annoying spelling of the company name (Really? An exclamation point in the middle? My spell checker actually swore at me) This platform opens the potential of social video for many applications.

You can find out more about me!box at Tell ‘em the guys from Footwasher Media sent you.

Note: me!box is still a relatively new technology and is optimized currently only for the desktop/laptop world.  The company is working on the third release of the product and starting from the mobile direction.  Viewing video on the platform on handheld devices is still fairly sketchy.

France's Menta introduces the "chipless" FPGA

In our continuing search for the "$10,000 Chip" we ran across yet another French company that brings us closer to our goal. Menta S.A.S. based in Montpellier in the south of France has created what might be called a "Chipless" FPGA, a programmable IP core that allows designers to target any design platform, be it a traditional FPGA or an SOC...but you don't have to buy the chip to get to the end of the design, implementation can be decided at the end of the process.

The soft IP core permits a standard RTL flow with design tools.  Designers can modify the design according to their needs on the fly.  A hard macro version of the soft IP can be a drop-in solution for rapid time to market.

But for our purposes, the elimination of the hardware early in the process means you can get to prototype faster and with less cost.  New Tech Press dropped in on the Menta booth at DAC 2012 and chatted with the CEO, Laurent Rouget.

(New Tech press is debuting a new video tool with this report from our new partner Me!Box Media.  The technology allows you to interact directly with the video, including sending comments back to us.  Let us know what you think)

Chris Mack goes deep (UV)

With all the excitement at Semicon West 2012 about the move to 450mm wafer manufacturing, New Tech Press decided to call up the Lithoguru, Chris Mack, to get a reality check on the news.  As usual, Dr. Mack was more circumspect than excited. Mack was vice president of lithography technology for KLA-Tencor. before "retiring" to write, teach and consult in the field of semiconductor lithography.  He has trained more than 2,000 lithographers from over 200 different companies around the world, and is an adjunct faculty member in the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Chemical Engineering Departments of the University of Texas at Austin. In January 2012 he become Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS, and MOEMS (JM3).

Chipmakers Adopt Cymer Technology

New Tech Press sat down with Nigel Farrar, vice president of marketing and lithography Technology for Cymer, Inc.(Nasdaq: CYMI) to talk about the prospects of extreme UV process adoption, as well as new products including the SmartPulse™ data management tool, and focus drilling technology for ArF immersion light sources.

Esencia Technologies tool boosts programmable logic design

This year, as almost every year Gary Smith of Gary Smith EDA states that electronic system level (ESL) design is now here. Reality has not always agreed but there are often many signs that say Gary might be on to something. One of them was a tiny startup on the DAC floor called Esencia technologies with an interesting tool kit called Escala. Among their claims was that Escala could make it possible to replace ASICs with low-end FPGAs in low-volume production systems. Lou Covey from Footwasher Media checked them out in this video interview.


Univa filling Sun gap in EDA industry

Sun Microsystems had been an active partner and participant in the EDA world until Oracle completed its acquisition in 2010.  Suddenly the Sun logo disappeared quite conspicuously from the EDA exhibitions in 2010 and 2011 where Sun had previously been prominent and ubiquitous. A little of that came back in 2012 with Univa taking their first active presence at the Design Automation Conference. In 2007 Univa helped Sun create the Sun Grid Engine, a job resource and management tool, developed the software to meet Sun’s HPC go-to-market requirements and became a reseller of the engine.  In 2010, however, Oracle decided the grid engine division was not as profitable as they would like and dropped it altogether, giving Univa an instant gift of thousands of dedicated users and a rapidly growing service business. Nearly 30% of the company’s customers are in the EDA / Semiconductor space.

In January 2011, Univa hired the Sun Grid Engine team and redesigned their business model to continue to support and update the Grid Engine. over the following year Univa delivered more code to their new community than any third party, patching holes and adding new functionality, something that had not been done for close to 2 years.

In March of this year, Univa released the results of a Technical Computing User Survey, that showed 70 percent of the respondents expected an increase in use of high performance computing this year and 75 percent expected an increase in 2013.  No one indicated a decline in use.

The information of the survey was instrumental in Univa's decision to begin making their presence in the EDA industry obvious and the plan, according to Gary Tyreman, President and CEO is to grow that presence steadily.  New Tech Press's Lou Covey sat down with Tyreman to talk about Univa and where the EDA industry is headed.


Flexras debuts Wasga Compiler

Flexras Technologies hit the 2012 Design Automation Conference (DAC) with the Wasga Compiler, an FPGA prototype partitioning tool, with some big claims. Turns out the claims were true... sort of. Their partner, Xilinx, confirmed the tool did provide good results quickly. So the hyperbole in their press release can be forgiven. New Tech Press editorial director Lou Covey interviewed the CEO, Hayder Mrabet.

Connect Tech's Qseven at core of military VR system

Connect Tech, based in Ontario, Canada, designs and manufactures serial communication hardware and software for a range of industries, including communications, industrial automation, transportation, government, military, scientific, medical, educational, POS, and office automation. At DesignWest, they exhibited a military training system from Quantum3D, that was driven by custom single-board computer, built on Connect Tech's Qseven Carrier board with an Intel® Atom™ processor.  New Tech Press dropped by and had a bit of fun with the team.

Learn more at

Netherlands' Brabant Region a one-stop shop for expansion, research

Part two of an investigative series on European entrepreneurialismBy Lou Covey, editorial director New Tech Press

In the previous report, we looked at opportunities in Poland as they continue the process of entering the European Union.  This report goes west where the hub of EU entrepreneurism lies, The Brabant Province.

The Brabant province straddles the border of Belgium and the Netherlands.  To the south it reaches into the Belgian capital city of Brussels the home of IMEC, arguably the leading nanotech research center in the world.  To the north it comprises most of the Dutch southern communities and the home of the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven.

New Tech Press sat down with representatives from the northern province Marcel de Haan, Director of Strategic Acquisition and Bodo DeWit, senior project manager, to talk about the one-stop-shop for technology companies looking to expand into Europe. (Watch Interview here)

The campus is home to nearly 100 companies ranging from giants like Phillips, to obscure startups working in equally complicated futuristic technologies, from 55 nations producing up to 4 patents a day. It represents an cooperative effort between governments, business and universities to foster start-ups and SMEs in global companies.

The crown jewel of the organization is the Holst Centre (/), an independent open-innovation R&D centre focusing on wireless autonomous sensor technologies and flexible electronics.

Holst was set up in 2005 by the Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC)  and Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research with support from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Government of Flanders. Named after Gilles Holst, the first director of Philips Research.

A key feature of Holst Centre is its partnership model with industry and academia based around shared roadmaps and programs. Companies looking to expand research capabilities can apply to the center and pick from a menu of non-competing companies to enhance or take research in new more efficient directions.

"The clear focus of Holst Centre is to develop generic technologies for its partners or other interested companies to license and use in their next-generation products, said DeWit. "However, to demonstrate and validate our technologies,  we have set up a number of Technology Integration Programs that focus on a specific application domains."

The primary focus of the technology is in health care, lighting and signage, organic photovoltaics and smart packaging, but DeHaan said The Centre and its partner network are constantly looking for new application domains, hence the reason for their recent trip to the U.S.. "This makes our research more tangible for parties thinking about joining Holst Centre. It also gives existing partners a clear understanding of the technology potential of our research."

Is now a good time to consider entering the European market?  Join the conversation and tell us what you think at



Interview with BOM Financial Investments

The Brabant province straddles the border of Belgium and the Netherlands. To the south it reaches into the Belgian capital city of Brussels the home of IMEC, arguably the leading nanotech research center in the world. To the north it comprises most of the Dutch southern communities and the home of the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven. New Tech Press sat down with representatives from the northern province Marcel de Haan, Director of Strategic Acquisition and Bodo DeWit, senior project manager, to talk about the one-stop-shop for technology companies looking to expand into Europe.


Raspberry Pi to narrow Digital Divide?

By Lou CoveyEditorial Director 

The effort to close Digital Divide -- the separation between those who can and can't afford access to the Internet -- has been a point of frustration for government and social activists for more than a decade. However, the rousing success of the Raspberry Pi computer launch on Leap Day could significantly close the Divide with the right price point and distribution strategy and punch a hole in commercial efforts to derail low-cost computing.

The United Nations established the World Information Society Day (May 17) for the first time in 2001 and since then there has been a steady stream of programs and products aimed at closing the divide, from the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) non-profit organization to Intel's Classmate PC.  Even the popularity of netbooks and tablets demonstrated the demand for low cost "ports" to the internet.  None, however, have made a significant dent in the problem.  In the US, where the gap is the smallest, 22 percent of the population still lacks internet connectivity, a figure that has barely improved since 2000 (Internet World Stats).

Several issues continue to dog efforts to close the divide: usability, price and supply. OLPC entered into competitive issues with suppliers early on and is still struggling to bring the devices to below $100 without significant charitable and government subsidy.  Intel, in particular, cut ties with the organization over the price per unit and launched the Classmate PC with greater functionality, and made it difficult to the OLPC offerings to gain significant market presence.

The long-anticipated Raspberry Pi, however, smashed the $100 barrier with a $35, fully internet enabled, credit-card sized device, manufactured and distributed by several sources, including Premier Farnell.  The current version is in one, uncased configuration, powered by an ARM-based Broadcom system on chip, with two USB slots, 256MB of RAM, HDMI slot, SD memory card slot and an Ethernet port, running Fedora Linux OS.

The primary target for the device is education, especially below the college level, but according to Jeff Jussel of, Premier Farnell's engineering community, the foundation's wants to build an open user community of experienced engineers first, to provide essentially free resources for students to learn how to use the technology. "The Foundation really designed this for education - to give schools and students an exciting platform for rekindling interest in programming.  I think this is the most exciting computing platform for education since I had my first Apple IIe as a kid." (hear full interview with Jussel)

Hence the partnership with electronics distributors rather than chip and system manufacturers. Enter the first problem: While both the foundation and distributors anticipated a significant demand for the product, they had no idea how big it would be.

"We made a limited run," said Jussel, "just to see how fast they would go and we knew we would run out of inventory early on. We thought initially demand would be in the thousands."  That was an understatement.  Worldwide demand exhausted the inventory in two hours and caused the servers for both the distributors and the foundation to crash briefly.

"Demand was actually in the 10s of thousands," said foundation co-founder and executive director Eben Upton (hear interview with Upton).  "We knew we had something special.  We just didn't know how special."

Orders came in primarily from the developer community, as anticipated, leaving very little for education at the outset.  Upton admitted that marketing efforts to education have been focused almost exclusively to the United Kingdom where the government has provided significant support.  In the US, however, not only is Raspberry Pi seen as a misspelled dessert, alternatives like Beagleboard and Cotton Candy are also unknown outside of colleges.  New Tech Press contacted several secondary education technology leaders who did not know of any of the options.

Woodside High School in Redwood City, California has been nationally recognized for its innovative approaches to using and teaching technology, including being competitive in national robotics competitions has yet to use any of the options, and the faculty had not yet heard of Raspberry Pi. David Reilly, principal at WHS said options like Cotton Candy, in excess of $100 would be outside of the budgetary restraints of even the most well-off schools, but the $35 Raspberry Pi might actually been doable.

Jussel said Premier Farnell, through its element14 online community, will soon be launching a program in the US not only to raise awareness of the technology, but to get samples into the hands of educators by the beginning of the start of the new school year.

Once the education market is penetrated, Upton hopes the next step is attacking the Divide.  Upton said the foundation's program began 6 years ago to deal with an ever increasing lack of programming skills of students entering the Cambridge University computer sciences programs.  A study showed that many of the students had no regular access to computers prior to enrolling, a problem that seems to be increasing in families below the poverty level in developed countries.  The availability of a fully functioning, low-cost computing system could rapidly close the gap as long as students had the ability to learn how to use them.

In the US, according to the AC Nielsen company, low-income minority families are more likely to own smart phones and high-definition televisions, than middle income white families, but less likely to own a personal computer.  The families use the phones as their internet connection because the phone and data service are more cost effective than a high-speed cable connection.  Upton said the Raspberry Pi was specifically designed to be able to be plugged into a phone, keyboard and HDTV to keep the overall cost for the system below $100.

How can the engineering community and electronics industry use Raspberry Pi to help achieve the ultimate goal of closing the Digital Divide?  Join the conversation with your ideas at

Distributors facilitating spread of Raspberry Pi technology

The Raspberry Pi project, according to Jeff Jussel of element14, Premier Farnell's engineering community, will give give schools and students an exciting platform for rekindling interest in programming similar to what the Apple IIe did for launching a generation of computer sciences in the 1980s.  In this interview, Jussel discusses how commercial distributors around the world, including element14, will be providing low cost kits and building a worldwide community of developers to enhance the experience for new programmers.

New IPad takes dictation

Apple's third generation of the iPad (imaginatively titled "iPad") was revealed today in San Francisco featuring a remarkably sharper screen and faster processing thanks to a quad-core GPU and a dual-core processor.  A larger battery is 70 percent stronger than the iPad2 battery allowing the device to maintain the same 10 hours of use.

 Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed the new display is sharper than the average high-definition television set, but the higher resolution means little for common low-resolution web images.

Cook pointed out at the outset of his presentation that the iPad in the fourth quarter outsold all PCs in the world, bolstering his claim that we now live in a post-PC world.

The new device also includes a high res camera on the back of the device, similar to - one used on the iPhone4s, and there will be separate versions for Verizon and AT&T LTE networks.

Software-wise there are several upgrades, but the popular Siri app won't be available immediately, instead Apple has included something new in the meantime: the ability to dictate and turn your voice into text. The company also said it would start letting users store movies in its iCloud remote storage service, so they can be accessed through the Internet by PCs and Apple devices. It already lets users store photos, music and documents in the service.

The new iPad will go on sale March 16 in the U.S., Canada and 10 other countries. A week later, it will go on sale in 25 more countries, making it the fastest product rollout in Apple history.

Is the iPad 3 the end of 3G as we know it?  How will users fully leverage the capabilities of the new HD iPad without unlimited data plans or issues due to throttling?  Tell us what you think.  Leave your comments at

Legendary investor calls for private approach to piracy

San Francisco, California --The legendary Silicon Valley angel investor Ron Conway called for a private effort to combat internet piracy during a protest Wednesday at Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco.  The protest was organized by Jonathan Nelson, founder of Hackers and Founders Group against the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) currently running through the House and Senate. Conway admittedly has made a great deal of money as an early investor in some major internet successes (Facebook and Twiiter, e.g.)  but has lost a lot of money, as well (anyone remember the sock-puppet "spokesdog" for  He is, nonetheless, passionate about the importance of innovation and the internet claiming the industry represents 2 million jobs in the US alone.  The accompanying video is an unedited record of his remarks, followed by his proposal to take internet piracy out of the hands of legislators and put it into the hands of the people it needs to protect, the technologists.

The day was marked by live protests around the nation as well as online protests.  Wikipedia, Reddit and Wordpress among many others took their sites off line with only a request for visitors to write their representatives to pull support for the bills.  the protest seems to have had some effect as bill sponsors, like Florida's Sen. Marco Rubio removed his name from the bill.  The authors of both bills, Rep Lamar Smith of Texas and Senator Patrick Leahy have dug in their heels calling the protestors and the striking companies as "misinformed" about the bills.

Conway, in his remarks calling for a private effort to address the issue did not downplay the problem, but said the legislation proposed was ill-advised.


Magma acquisition will light a fire under the EDA industry

A Footwasher Media AnalysisBy Lou Covey, Editorial Director

The acquisition of Magma Design Automation by Synopsys was arguably the biggest story of the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) industry in 2011.  It will also most likely end up being the biggest EDA story of 2012 as well.

Most observers were stunned at the news, and not because it was an unlikely fit.  It's actually a great fit and gives Synopsys a virtual stranglehold on the digital IC design market. It was improbable because of the deep-set enmity between the two companies, especially between the two CEOs, Aart DeGeus and Rajeev Madhavan.  Both companies launched multiple lawsuits against each other over the past decade claiming patent infringement on a variety of technologies, all of which have been resolved prior to the acquisition but left scars throughout both companies.  As one source that spent time as an employee in both companies said, "It was personal for some people and just business for others but it was pervasive.”

The acrimony between DeGeus and Madhavan often manifested publicly.  DeGeus would often be absent from CEO panels where Madhavan was present, and Magma employees and supporters made sure the industry noted that Madhavan was often not invited when the leadership of Cadence, Mentor Graphics and Synopsys were represented.

Madhavan also perennially accused Synopsys of deliberately undercutting prices in large package deals, a charge DeGeus vehemently denied, perennially.  To Synopsys' defense, however, it was an unofficial industry-wide practice, according to Jeff Jussel, senior director of global technology marketing at element14.  Jussel is a former ASIC designer and EDA executive (including marketing director at Magma) and is leading element14's push into embedded and electronic design services.

There was so much competition between the big four it drove a never ending spiral of ever cheaper prices.  Better results, better productivity, but less and less money for the developers of that technology.  The big guys could deal with it better because they had the big "all you can eat" deals.  1 million for one year, 3 million for two years, 4 million for five years.  The deals looked bigger, but the terms were getting longer and the price per seat was coming down.  It started killing the innovation in start-ups because there was so much pressure on margins that there was nothing left to buy from the start-ups, and the start-ups were getting pushed to the side by the deals," said Jussel.  "The practice squeezed innovative start-ups out of the market because they couldn't compete and be profitable.”

Synopsys bought many failed start-ups for the cost of assets alone, eliminating competition and gaining valuable technology with little investment.  As this practice continued industry wide, investors saw little upside in funding new start-ups and, at present, there is virtually no interest in funding new companies that have no chance of an IPO nor of being acquired for a premium over investment.  This is where the acquisition of Magma may have the greatest potential for energizing the moribund industry.

First, it consolidates the industry nicely.  Synopsys holds digital, Cadence leads in analog and mixed signal, and Mentor dominates embedded design.  The lawsuits and undercutting that decimated the start-ups will be a thing of the past.  Customers will have to pay what the vendors ask or be forced to build their own solutions...or look to start-ups. Which brings us to the second reason.

At $507 million, it is the single largest acquisition in the industry's history, eclipsing Cadence's acquisition of Cooper & Chyan Technologies for $428 million in 1997.  When combined with the Ansys purchase of Apache Design for more $310 million and a handful of other smaller deal this year it helps release nearly a billion dollars of cash into the pockets of investors and founders.  All of these deals will be concluded before the Design Automation Conference in San Francisco this July.  Conservatively, the industry could see $100 million of that invested in new technology before the end of 2012.

And who will be leading that charge?  None other than Rajeev Madhavan.

Madhavan could be called the single most successful entrepreneur in the EDA industry.    He was a founder of LogicVision, a company that was sucked up by Mentor Graphics for $13 million in Mentor stock. He founded Ambit to attack the Synopsys logic synthesis hegemony, using guerilla marketing techniques to grab market share and, in the end, sold out to Cadence for a quarter billion dollars.  Madhavan reinvested much of his take into founding Magma, which went from start up to IPO in short order.  Combined with the Ambit valuation, Madhavan-founded companies account for over $700 million in corporate value.  No other single entrepreneur has those kind of results in their resume.

The sale agreement precludes Magma or Synopsys representatives' speculation on who stays and who goes.  There are those who hope Madhavan stays put for some time and he must make that commitment for the sake of the deal.  But no one believes that DeGeus will want his nemesis hanging around the office coffee bar any longer than is necessary, and he will have followers as he goes out the door.

"I expect Rajeev to be gone within days of the deal being done," Jussel stated.

That is not to say there will be a mass exodus.  According to Jussel, Magma has "some of the most intelligent and best educated people in the industry who love creating technology for IC Design.  They're working for the customers, not the logo."  Those are the people that Synopsys want to keep, and they will be very generous to them.

DeGeus has stated that the talent of Magma was what was important to Synopsys, not the technology, so does that mean Magma's tools are going away?  Jussel laughed at that question. "We'll see how that works out.  The existing installed base loves the Magma tools so they will continue to support those product lines or lose the business altogether."

But there will be business minds with wads of cash in their pockets that won't be as welcome.  The doors of start-ups will be wide open for these people.  That is very good news for an industry that has limped along for much of the past two decades and whose lack of consistent innovation has held back the semiconductor industry as well.

 Was the Synopsys Magma deal good for the industry?  Tell us why at