The efabless Newsletter #2
IC consolidation and efabless
Important trends are going efabless’ way. In this newsletter I will focus below on semiconductor industry consolidation and why this is a good thing for efabless and our crowdsourcing model.
We are all well aware of the merger and acquisition spree in semiconductors over the past several years. There were over $100 B of semiconductor and related M&A deals in 2015. 2016 is shaping up to be another big year. Many have felt that this was long overdue, as companies seek to find economies of scale and cost savings to drive returns to shareholders. Whatever the reader’s perspective on the merits of the deals, however, there can be no doubt that this trend continues unabated. The most visible recent example is the blockbuster $13+ billon acquisition by Analog Devices to buy Linear Technology.
We see two implications of this consolidation which are very positive for our model. First of all, we expect that the pressure to rationalize the mergers through cost savings and economies of scale will accelerate the existing trends for semiconductor companies (i) to deemphasize custom (ASIC) designs in favor of standard products and (ii) to deemphasize serving smaller and “long-tail” customers in favor of proven large volume customers. We hear this from our industry conversations and it makes sense.
This is good news for us because we fill these very real market needs. We make custom silicon cost effective by (i) leveraging a community of professional designers and design firms with available time for custom IP and IC projects, and (ii) eliminating the upfront cost of design. Our platform is flexible and scalable and specifically targeted to enabling innovative companies, of any size, to access this capability.
The second implication is that acquisitions bring uncertainty and ultimately turnover in people, often among the very best. We see consolidation as a catalyst to growth in our professional community. Maybe right away, maybe in a little while. We intend to offer designers a way to participate in exciting and profitable projects of their choosing.
|efabless: Think GiTHub for ICs and IP
For those of you who don’t know, GITHub is the crowdsourcing version of the defacto industry standard GIT source code management software. Currently, more than 14 million people have deposited more than 35 million software projects (mostly open-source) on GitHub making it the largest host of source code in the world. Now think semiconductors. Imagine what could be done with an open crowdsourcing platform that dramatically reduces the cost and administrative barriers of semiconductor design and manufacturing. Sounds disruptive, right?
Open Source Hardware
|Open Source RISC-V Core Designs, Why Google Cares and Why They Matter
RISC-V is a free and open source Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) standard for Systems-on-a-Chip (SoCs).
|This Tiny Wireless Temperature Sensor Is Powered Only By Radio Waves
This minuscule chip can measure the temperature wherever it’s placed—and it never needs a battery, because it’s powered by the radio waves from the same wireless network that it uses to communicate.
|SoftBank’s $32 Billion Deal for Chip Designer ARM Is Britain’s Biggest Since Brexit – The New York Times
The deal gives the Japanese company access to chip designs for phones and other small devices.
|ADI to Acquire Linear Tech for $14.8 Billion | EE Times
Latest semiconductor industry blockbuster deal would combine analog chip heavyweights.
Rambus Completes Acquisition of Snowbush IP Assets
Rambus today announced it has successfully completed the acquisition of the assets of Semtech’s Snowbush IP. The closing purchase price totaled $32 million, including additional payments based upon specific new product sales through the end of 2022.