Architecture Exploration of Processors and SoC to trade off power and performance 5
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Coke vs. Pepsi; Xilinx vs. Altera

Coke vs. Pepsi; Xilinx vs. Altera
by Luke Miller on 08-02-2013 at 10:00 am

I have many thoughts on this topic, so forgive the word salad that may ensue. I have been thinking about Coca-Cola lately, partly because I bought an old coke machine (I’m one of those guys… pray for my wife). I am amazed that Coke which was founded in 1886, still has a secret recipe. I like that, but boy every time the web reveals the coke secret is out, I need to know. I’m such a snoop; there was coke news out a few years ago which showed a picture of the recipe. I think one guy is in jail for trying to steal it, can you imagine he really is in jail for trying to steal coke. No emails please.

I liken the Coke vs. Pepsi war to Xilinx vs. Altera. Daniel Nenni of Semi-Wiki said something very true in his blog titled ”Intel 14nm Delayed?”. Great article and yes we all are wondering if Altera is in trouble with that delay. Dan said “The semiconductor industry is so close knit it is very hard to keep a secret. Add in social media and it is near impossible.”

We know that to be true but I wonder how much of that affects the industry. I hope dear reader that you are loyal not only to your employer but to yourself and your God. Look around on LinkedIn and you can see the movement to/from Xilinx and Altera, AMD to/from NVIDIA etc… Are we only to believe that skills, leadership and aptitude are the only bits of talent transferred? We know better. Knowledge transfer even subconsciously is unavoidable, what are unavoidable are leaks from within. You know “Don’t say I said this but…” but we live in a ‘leaky age’ (that’s funny, and I now own that saying) where it is socially acceptable not to guard secrets and play word games or talk around them.

When workers left Pepsi to go work for Coke, does Coke taste like Pepsi? Nope, as Coke is sure in its product. Xilinx and Altera are sure in their product but more than ever, this next node is huge for many reasons. After both products yield (They will) what will be the market share picture? The hopes for each respective FPGA company will be to gain more of that share. What will gain that share? The obvious, DSP densities, Clock Speeds, Tools etc.. The not so obvious are the things that cannot be written about, those are the secrets of all the hardwork, time, and energy each company is pouring it’s heart into. It’s our responsibility to keep them secret. At some level it is fun when a huge game changer is announced and it’s one of those technology leaps that you are amazed at. Personally I’m a J.D. Rockefeller man; that is buying the competition, so if I owned Xilinx, I’d buy Altera. But I guess that is illegal now a days where our friendly government is making freedom illegal; not only monitors our internet usage, but sets the price of milk, corn, gas, owns the banks, and our health care system. Better keep that secret 😉

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