Despite the strong consolidation in the semiconductor industry, the Design IP market is going well, very well with YoY growth of 13.1% in 2016, according with the Design IP Report from IPnest. ARM Group of Softbank (previously known as ARM Holding) is again the strong #1 with IP revenues (licenses plus royalties) of $1,647 million and 48.4% market share, followed by Synopsys with about $450 million and 13% share. Imagination technologies is still #3, despite IP revenues for 2016 decreasing by more than 20% and Cadence is #4, while the IP revenues have also decreased in 2016.
IPnest has defined 11 categories and 3 groups, Processor, Physical and Digital IP, ranking IP vendors in these 11 categories. The processor IP group is the largest, with about 60% of revenues from design IP. The group is split into Microprocessor (CPU), Digital Signal Processors (DSP) and Graphic and Image Processors (GPU and ISP) categories. There are strong disparities between these 3 categories as the weight of the CPU category is about 10x the DSP and 5x the GPU/ISP.
ARM is obviously the strong #1 in the CPU category, and will probably keep this position forever, due to the royalty mechanism… and the successful company strategy of diversification outside of the mobile phone, namely in storage (95% market share), wearable (90%), networking (15%) or embedded intelligence (25%). In this CPU category, Imagination Technologies (IMG) is #2 with their MIPS IP family and Synopsys #3 with ARC IP family. Now, if we consider the market dynamics in 2016 where IMG has seen MIPS IP revenues decrease by 10% while Synopsys has grown ARC IP revenues by 13.5%, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Synopsys becoming #2 in 2017. The good question is “who will consolidate MIPS IP revenues?”, as the product line is for sale since the beginning of 2017…
In the GPU/ISP category, ARM was #2 with MALI GPU IP just behind IMG in 2015, but has passed IMG in 2016. ARM has now 46.5% market share in GPU/ISP, for 35.8% for IMG in 2016. More than a brilliant success from ARM (the company has seen a 2.2% YoY with GPU in 2016), this change is sanctioning the deficient performance of IMG, with GPU IP revenue drop of 23.9% in 2016! As a side notice, this revenue drop has happened before than Apple, IMG’s best customer, has announced that they plan to internally develop the GPU IP to be integrated in their next application processor for smartphone…
To end up with a positive point, Verisilicon (after Vivante acquisition) is the #3 in this category, and we can expect the company to keep growing in the future, as their home market (China) is expected to explode during the next years.
The DSP IP category is leaded by Cadence (#1) and CEVA, and the #2 is doing extremely well in 2016, with 22.6% revenues growth. I had the opportunity to review the financial communication by quarter from CEVA for the last 3 or 4 years, and the most noticeable point if the company constant diversification out of the mobile phone. In the latest communication for Q1 2017, CEVA is announcing height new DSP IP licenses, all of them non-handset baseband applications!
The next group after processor is the Physical IP, including Wired Interface IP, SRAM memory compiler, Other memory compilers, Physical Libraries, Analog and Mixed-Signal and Wireless Interface IP, weighting slightly less than 30% of the total, but more than 50% of the license only revenues. The clear leader, Synopsys with 29% market share, is active in most of the categories and leader with 50%+ market share in the Wired Interface IP. This category is also the largest with more than $500 million in 2016 and IPnest has made extensive research work since 2009 on wired interface, including this 2010-2020 Survey/Forecast which can be found in the “Interface IP Survey”, the best seller from IPnest.
In the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] part of this article, I will propose a detailed analysis for the Physical IP categories not covered today, as well as for the Digital IP group (Chip Infrastructure and Miscellaneous Digital).
If you’re interested by this “Design IP Report” released in May 2017, just contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Last but not least, I hope you will go to the DAC 2017 in Austin! With my colleagues of the IP committee we have prepared conferences and panel sessions, and we really expect you to take benefit of these four days to learn about the hot topics in design IP from Verification, Security for IoT to the IP Paradox panel (moderated by Dan Nenni!)…
I will dedicate a complete blog to this panel very soon.
Eric Esteve from IPnest