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Open Letter from Sonics to Arteris

Open Letter from Sonics to Arteris
by Paul McLellan on 10-27-2013 at 2:00 pm

 I don’t remember seeing an open letter from one EDA or IP company to another until today. Sonics have published an open letter to Charlie Janac, the CEO of Arteris. What seems to have happened is that Arteris have sold their assets to Qualcomm and the development team (which is based in France) and several AEs are already Qualcomm employees (this is according to the letter, I haven’t personally confirmed it).

Sonics CEO Letter to Arteris CEO

Sonics and Arteris are the primary network on chip (NoC) vendors. ARM also has a product in the space although obviously focused on ARM-based designs where it is part of their portfolio of technology.

One story I have heard is that 6 months ago Qualcomm was going to buy Arteris and the deal fell through. I have no idea why but one rumor is that the sale of Arteris would trigger various contingencies resulting in one or more customers getting the source code. Apparently the current deal is structured as an asset purchase whereby Qualcomm buy the source code and hire the engineering and application team. Presumably this structure doesn’t trigger anything and Qualcomm will be the only company with the source code.

It is unclear how this works going forward. Qualcomm are already in the licensing business with CDMA technology, but this seems like something different. There have also been rumors recently that they will license their DSP core. Presumably customers of Arteris have a contract with Arteris which would be unaffected by the asset purchase so I have no idea how support will work going forward. Arteris doesn’t have people to do the support if everyone works for Qualcomm, but several Arteris customers such as Samsung are Qualcomm competitors so I can’t see them sending their latest SoC over if they have a problem.

In the meantime, Sonics thinks that the market is frozen until customers know what is really going on. Should they stick with Arteris? Switch to Sonics (obviously Sonics would like that)? Do their own fabric? Presumably something will get announced at some point but right now it is like we are peering at shadows in the fog, unclear what is real and what is just rumor.

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