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Predictions are hard, especially about the future

Predictions are hard, especially about the future
by Paul McLellan on 01-11-2013 at 11:26 am

 I was asked to make some predictions about the EDA, semiconductor and electronic systems markets for 2013. I decided that it would be more fun to make some plausible predictions, some of which will be right, rather than go for anodyne predictions (“Cadence will acquire a couple of startups”) which are uninformative, not to mention boring. So, drum roll, here are my 2013 predictions:

  • There will be a lot of discussion about the costs of 20nm since it is so much more than 28nm. It will be a very slow transition with some people going straight to 14/16nm (which is really 20nm with smaller transistors which is really 26nm with smaller transistors). Expect lots of discussion about the end of Moore’s law.
  • EUV lithography will not become commercial during 2013 and so will miss the 10nm node.
  • TSV-based 3D ICs will start to become mainstream. Memory on logic, and mixed digital/analog on interposer. Expect lots of discussion about “more than Moore” and how 3D is the new way for scaling.
  • The death of a giant will finally take place. Nokia, still #1 only a year ago, will be dismembered. A consortium of Apple, Google and Samsung will buy the patents for billions to stop any trolls getting any of them. Huawei will buy the handset and base-station businesses for peanuts.
  • Synopsys will acquire Mentor. EDA will otherwise be fairly boring with the big three being the only companies able to attack the upcoming problems that require dozens of tools to be updated, not just a new point tool inserted in the flow.
  • If the IPO markets are open, Jasper, eSilicon, Atrenta and Tensilica will go public. If someone doesn’t buy them first.

OK. Everyone can play this game. What are your predictions?

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