editor's blog
Subscribe Now

And Then There Were Three

Back before the turn of the century, a brash new company called Magma came onto the scene. This was a time when chip design involved a series of complicated tools, each of which required an exporting of the result of one tool and an importing of those results into the next tool. Magma’s claim to fame was the single database, with each tool providing a different view into and operations on that database.

Implicit in such a strategy is a goal of being all things to all customers. No non-Magma point tools would work with Magma’s proprietary database. That’s a good thing and a bad thing: it helps keep customers locked in, but it also means that you have to be the best at everything (or damn close to it). That last bit is a tall order.

When being all things became unwieldy, they stepped back and re-evaluated things. In my conversation a couple years ago with Magma CEO Rajeev Madhavan, he indicated that he was in the process of resetting expectations within the company: if a Magma tool didn’t excel, then they wouldn’t offer it. A full flow was no longer important, and they wouldn’t waste energy on something that wasn’t awesome. You’ve heard of companies wanting to be in the top three of anything they built; Rajeev wanted to be #1. Period.

It was all about getting back to leanness and meanness and rediscovering a start-up culture. And it followed on the heels of a painful lawsuit by the relative giant Synopsys, a process that, by Magma’s admission, sapped energy and resources from development activities.

We had that conversation in a dark time for the company, when the stock was bumbling along just over $1 per share, down from a peak of almost $30 just after their IPO (with the hot ticker symbol LAVA). The question being whispered was whether the company would survive. Since then it has recovered to over $5 – a reasonable multiple for anyone that got in at the bottom, but still far from earlier heady days.

Today it was announced that erstwhile nemesis Synopsys will acquire Magma for $7.35/share – a neat little premium over today’s close of $5.72. Rumors had circulated now and again over the last year or two that Synopsys was waiting in the wings to get a low price. Who knows whether today’s strike price is considered high or low, but it’s likely that everyone can walk away with something to show for it.

At this point there’s no official news on the fate of personnel and products.

And so the Big Three (plus Magma) whittle down to simply the Big Three: Synopsys, Cadence, and Mentor.

 

(With apologies to Genesis)

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Apr 16, 2021
The Team RF "μWaveRiders" blog series is a showcase for Cadence AWR RF products. Monthly topics will vary between Cadence AWR Design Environment release highlights, feature videos, Cadence... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community...
Apr 16, 2021
Spring is in the air and summer is just around the corner. It is time to get out the Old Farmers Almanac and check on the planting schedule as you plan out your garden.  If you are unfamiliar with a Farmers Almanac, it is a publication containing weather forecasts, plantin...
Apr 15, 2021
Explore the history of FPGA prototyping in the SoC design/verification process and learn about HAPS-100, a new prototyping system for complex AI & HPC SoCs. The post Scaling FPGA-Based Prototyping to Meet Verification Demands of Complex SoCs appeared first on From Silic...
Apr 14, 2021
By Simon Favre If you're not using critical area analysis and design for manufacturing to… The post DFM: Still a really good thing to do! appeared first on Design with Calibre....

featured video

The Verification World We Know is About to be Revolutionized

Sponsored by Cadence Design Systems

Designs and software are growing in complexity. With verification, you need the right tool at the right time. Cadence® Palladium® Z2 emulation and Protium™ X2 prototyping dynamic duo address challenges of advanced applications from mobile to consumer and hyperscale computing. With a seamlessly integrated flow, unified debug, common interfaces, and testbench content across the systems, the dynamic duo offers rapid design migration and testing from emulation to prototyping. See them in action.

Click here for more information

featured paper

From Chips to Ships, Solve Them All With HFSS

Sponsored by Ansys

There are virtually no limits to the design challenges that can be solved with Ansys HFSS and the new HFSS Mesh Fusion technology! Check out this blog to know what the latest innovation in HFSS 2021 can do for you.

Click here to read the blog post

featured chalk talk

High-Performance Test to 70 GHz

Sponsored by Samtec

Today’s high-speed serial interfaces with PAM4 present serious challenges when it comes to test. Eval boards can end up huge, and signal integrity of the test point system is always a concern. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Matthew Burns of Samtec about the Bullseye test point system, which can maintain signal integrity up to 70 GHz with a compact test point footprint.

Click here for more information about Samtec’s Bulls Eye® Test System