Recently at the sidelines of DAC, Anupam Bakshi, CEO of Agnisys, Inc. sat down with Karen Bartleson, Director of Community Marketing at Synopsys to discuss a very important topic that is close to the heart of the end-customer – this is about Collaboration between EDA companies. In today’s highly complex semiconductor industry where customers have products from many vendors it is imperative that these products work without any hic-ups helping the user improve time-to-market and cost benefits. Here are some of the excerpts from the discussion … What experiences he has had where collaboration would have solved a big problem? Anupam said “We generate code and big companies process those codes, if that does not work all fingers are pointed at us. We have to make sure that things do work otherwise ultimately customer suffers. They have to figure out why things are not working. It will be better we have access to their tools that way we can make sure things do work properly. It shouldn’t be the customers who are trying to debug things in the flow. When companies collaborate then their tools work together perfectly and customer is happy & successful.” At what point competitors draw the line between sharing information with each other and protecting their intellectual property? “That is an issue. It is a double edge sword. Ultimately it is for the benefit of the customer. You have to ensure that customer is successful and satisfied. It is a give and take between EDA companies. If with the collaboration customer gets his flow going then it is a win-win situation for both companies. Thought of protecting their IPs should take back seat for the benefit of the customer.” Whether or not he feels companies have a lot to lose in collaboration? “Well I think when you do collaborate with other company both companies sign a legal contract to protect their intellectual property. Small companies are not going to copy that tool because they are tied up in a legal contract. If they try to copy that tool then they will lose everything including the trust in EDA market. Both companies don’t have to worry about losing anything because their IP’s are protected.” How from his perspective small companies work to collaborate? “Basically we follow standards. We collaborate with big companies in the area of standards. We try to partner with big companies where there aren’t standards. Sometime big companies agree and sometime they don’t. Ultimately it is for the interest of the customer companies big or small do agree to collaborate.” He quoted “Without collaboration small companies can’t survive. Thanks to the big companies for encouraging us and partnering with us because of that now our tools works with their tools. We were able to create a product which is successful now.” How company deals with collaboration and different time zones? “One of the biggest hindrances to effective collaboration can be working across different time zones. We have our head office in Lowell, USA and development center in Noida, India. Geography does not matter anymore. The technology is there to support the around-the-clock collaboration that is so valuable when you work across time zones. The most important is the response time. We use a state of art support program which is very useful. We have 24×7 support service available to customers and our response is very quick. That’s how customers start trusting us. So the time zone doesn’t affect us.” Conclusion In my experience, we have had a mixed response from the vendors in terms of collaboration. While a couple companies are very eager to collaborate and will extend any possible help, others are paranoid about their IP protection. In summary, Big companies have nothing to lose when they collaborate with others. The risk of losing control over their IP is very well protected by market forces and legal paperwork. In my opinion collaboration is beneficial for end customers because it enhances their productivity, efficiency and quality while reducing their development cost.