Synopsys Challenges with SpringSoft Acquisition

Synopsys Challenges with SpringSoft Acquisition
by Daniel Payne on 08-03-2012 at 12:41 pm

Another week in EDA and yet another acquisition by Synopsys as they buy SpringSoft this time for $406 million in cash. Paul McLellan wrote a good blog on this merger too.

Last week I blogged about the product overlap and integration challenges that Synopsys faces with the acquisition of Ciranova
.

Let’s take a look at the IC entry and layout products from SpringSoft and how they fit into the tools that Synopsys already owns:
[TABLE] style=”width: 500px”
|-
| EDA Techn​ology
| Synopsys
| Ciranova
| Magma
| SpringSoft
|-
| Schematic
Capture
| Custom
Designer SE

| Pyros
Viewer

| Schematic
Editor,
Titan
Virtual
Prototype

| Laker
Schematic
Editor

|-
| Simulation
Console
| Custom
Designer
Simulation
and Analysis
Environment

|
| Titan
Analog
Simulation
Environment

| Simulation
Console

|-
| IC Layout
| Custom
Designer LE

| Helix
| Layout
Editor

| Laker
Custom
Layout
Automation
System

|-
| Schematic
Driven
Layout
| Customer
Designer SDL

| Helix
| Schematic
Driven
Layout

| Laker
Custom
Layout
Automation
System

|-
| Design
Rule
Driven
| SmartDRD
| Helix
|
| Laker
Custom
Layout
Automation
System

|-
| Routing
| Custom
Designer LE

|
| Titan
Shape
Based
Router

| Laker
Custom
Layout
Automation
System

Laker
Custom
Digital
Router

|-
| Analog IP
|
| PyCell
| Titan
FlexCell

| MCell
|-
| Circuit
Optimization
|
|
| Titan
Analog
Design
Accelerator

|
|-
| Cell
Migration
|
| Helix
| Titan
Analog
Layout
Accelerator

|
|-
| LDE
Optimization
|
| Helix LDE
Opt

|
| Laker
Analog
Prototyping

|-
| Chip
Finishing
|
|
|
| Laker
Blitz

|-
| Test
Chip
|
|
|
| Laker
Automated
Test
Chip
Development
Platform

|-
| Database
| OpenAccess
| OpenAccess
| OpenAccess
| OpenAccess
|-
| Pcells
| Python, C++
| Python
| Python
| MCell
|-
| Scripting
| TCL
| Python
| TCL
| TCL
|-
| iPDK Support
| Yes
| Yes
| Yes
| Yes
|-

All four sets of EDA tools do use the common OpenAccess database, so that gives a foundation to build upon however the GUI is distinct for all sets of tools and the GUI is what engineers see and use every day. Synopsys can either converge on a unified GUI, or continue to sell distinct-looking EDA tools which means higher support costs and longer learning curves for customers.

The position that Synopsys is in today reminds me of when Cadence previously acquired multiple EDA point-tool companies then spent years before they could actually integrate all of that great technology into something unified for users.

Looking at the product table comparison I see much product overlap and from a business viewpoint it makes sense to consolidate the product lines instead of keeping them all alive.

SpringSoft with the Laker schematics and layout probably has more seats than Synopsys Customer Designer, however Synopsys is the larger company, so it’s not clear which tool wins and which one dies or is merged. As a customer of Synopsys or Springsoft tools I would be very eager to know what the product roadmap is going to be, and if my favorite and productive tools are going to be orphaned, supported, maintained, swapped out, discontinued or merged.

SpringSoft also offers functional closure tools and prototype verification, so let’s compare them:

[TABLE] style=”width: 500px”
|-
| EDA Technology
| Synopsys
| SpringSoft
|-
| Visibility Automation
| Discovery
Visualization
Environment

| Siloti
|-
| Debug Automation
| Discovery
Visualization
Environment

| Verdi
|-
| Functional Automation
| VCS (integrated)
| Certitude
|-
| Prototype Verification
| Identify
RTL Debugger

| ProtoLink Probe Visualizer
|-

Verdi has a strong following, so it may make sense to replace DVE with Verdi to the installed based of Synopsys users.

Summary
I love to root for the underdog in EDA, so I’m feeling a little sad that SpringSoft has been acquired by Synopsys. On the bright side the SpringSoft tools are now part of the number one EDA company so they could enjoy a longer life and broader market appeal, especially after we learn about the new product roadmap.

A Brief History of EDA


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