Last night the Electronic Design Automation Consortium ("EDAC", the trade group for the EDA industry) held its annual "CEO Forecast and Industry Vision" panel here in San Jose. As with all prior EDAC events, I'm glad I went for both the networking (like seeing my old boss Larry Lapides of Imperas, and long time VA Partners like James Colgan, leader of the growing Xuropa EDA & electronics community), and for the content of the main program itself. In a nutshell, my take-away was that the panel's consensus is that 2009 will be a challenge to be sure -- with the potential to be as bad as past EDA market downturns.
HOWEVER, the silver lining in this dark cloud is that given the pace of innovation / technological change, customers can't afford to wait until the recession is over to release new and innovative products, and thus this will put EDA in the leading edge of the recovery. (I theory I'm inclined to agree with, especially with respect to the verification space as I expressed in a prior post on 2009 predictions.) For a solid account of this forum, I refer to you today's EET: "EDAC panel: Grim present, but long-term optimism"
ALL THAT SAID:
What I really want to talk about is an almost throw-away comment made by Synopsys' CEO Aart DeGus at the very end of the panel. EET's Dylan McGrath's account in the article cited above matches my notes:
"De Geus said there is a 'tremendous amount of duplication in EDA.' For example, he said, simulators offered by the various EDA vendors are each very different, but fundamentally they are about 90 percent the same. 'Downturns tend to push that out of the system,' he said, predicting that meaningful EDA consolidation will accelerate in the second half of this year."
What the heck did he mean by that?
Unfortunately, no one on the panel or in the audience Q&A session called him on this, and with "CADENCE" printed in 36 point type on my event badge I concluded he wouldn't be too forthcoming with me so I refrained from asking him directly. FWIW, by his tone of voice as he made the remark I was left with the impression that he was referring to himself/Synopsys taking some proactive action here, but of course only Mr. DeGeus knows for sure (EDAC did video the event, so it might be worth a replay...) Since it's always great fun to speculate, consider the following theories:
* Synopsys will buy out Mentor in calendar Q3 or Q4 '09 (i.e. by the end of their fiscal year in calendar Q3, or announce an acquisition just after in Q4)
* Synopsys will buy the Questa+ verification franchise from Mentor (hence, Mentor will be free build on their strenghts in the PCB space, leading products like Calibre, etc.) in calendar Q3 or Q4 '09
* They will spin their rapidly maturing native support of the e language inside VCS into some new product / product line extension to VCS
* What else???