The global semiconductor intellectual property market is progressing with rapid changes, where products tend to become commodities not long after their launch. This results in frustrating the profit margins of vendors that are offering dedicated IP, design services, and EDA software tools. As each application sector of the market is of different sizes, it is expected to experience different growth rates. However, the growth prospects of the global market focus on rising demand from the consumer electronics industry, growth in the IoT market and technological development. Primarily, the successful growth of the overall market is dependent on the emergence of innovative technologies. This will enrich the market with effortless designing tools, system architecture, piracy protection mechanisms, libraries, and integration standards.
The semiconductor IP market is dominated by a number of large and small vendors. The companies are considering to acquire other IP companies to increase their market share. However, the new players will initially tend to set their focus rather on discrete phases of IC IP type that might help them to carve a niche in the market. However, this can generate an underlying threat to the IP product offerings of EDA vendors, such as Cadence Design Systems and Synopsys, as certain customers of EDA companies may develop their own design tools.
Let’s discuss the performance of the top 8 players in the global semiconductor intellectual property (IP) market:
Arm Holdings Plc
ARM Holdings plc, (formerly known as Advanced RISC Machines Holdings Limited) designs and manufactures microprocessors, physical intellectual property (IP), and related technology. It offers Microprocessor Cores, Keil Microcontroller Development Kit, ARM Development Boards, Cycle Models, ARM Development Studio, software development tools, and Physical IP components through eight product categories, such as Processors, Graphics and Multimedia, Physical IP, Development Tools, IT Solutions, Security on Arm, System IP and Wireless IP. Further, it provides support, maintenance, and training services to licensees, systems companies, and other systems designers.
The company changed its name to ARM Holdings plc in March 1998. ARM Holdings plc is a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp. AMR adopted an agreement as to the key development strategy to sustain the intense competition and improve its product portfolio.
Imagination Technologies Group Plc,
Imagination Technologies Group plc creates and licenses processor solutions. Its product offerings include PowerVR multimedia technologies, Ensigma wireless IP solutions, and creator developer kits & software. It also offers solutions for multi-standard communications, video and vision processing, general purpose & embedded processing, and graphics. It serves network operators, computing, home electronics, semiconductor manufacturers, and other markets. Imagination Technologies Group plc was taken privately on November 2, 2017.
Cadence Design Systems, Inc.
Cadence Design Systems, Inc. is engaged in designing and development of electronic design automation software, and hardware systems. Its business operates through three reportable segments, such as tools, IP, solutions, and services. The company offerings include emulation and prototyping hardware, functional verification platform, formal verification platform, parallel simulation platform, verification computing platform, and gate array prototyping platform. It also provides logic design, physical implementation tools, custom IC design, and signoff products. Cadence Design Systems, Inc. adopted product launch as its key strategy to sustain the intense competition and improve its product portfolio.
eMemory Technology Inc.
eMemory Technology Inc. was founded in the year 2000 and has its headquarters in Taiwan. The company is involved in the development of embedded non-volatile memory (eNVM) technology. It licenses its intellectual property (IP) to, integrated devices manufacturers (IDMs), fabless design houses, and semiconductor foundries. It offers embedded non-volatile memory chips and various control chips. The company serves automobiles, home appliances, communication equipment, and consumer electronics industries. The company operates its business through three product categories, namely OTP, MTP, and specialty, and registered a growth rate of 23.6% from 2016 to 2017 attributed to the foreign currency impact in 2017.
eMemory Technology Inc. adopted product launch as its key developmental strategy. For instance, it launched a next-generation EEPROM that holds the ability to support more than 500,000 rewrite cycles and fulfill the standards set by the automotive industry to retain 10-year data at 150°C operation. In addition, the company also launched a NeoFuse technology, which is a One-Time Programmable (OTP), verified in the 16nm FinFET Plus process.
Sonics, Inc., is involved in the supply of security, Network-on-Chip (NoC), and power and memory subsystems. It offers development tools and power management solutions. It also provides network on chip, power management, chip interconnect, chip communications network, chip network, on-chip communications, system-on-chip, memory controller, memory IP, memory scheduler and energy processing subsystems. It is a private company, and hence its financial information is not available in the public domain. The agreement is the key strategy adopted by the company to sustain its presence in the market.
CEVA, Inc. was formed after the merger of the DSP IP licensing division of DSP Group and Parthus Technologies plc in the year 2002. It provides licenses for signal processing intellectual property (IP) and is also involved in licensing and a variety of application-specific signal processing platforms. It offers DSP-based platforms for handsets, computer vision, machine-to-machine devices, infrastructure, and computational photography. It serves consumer, industrial, mobile, automotive, and IoT markets and has its geographical presence in the Asia-Pacific, U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. CEVA, Inc. registered a growth rate of 20.8% from 2016 to 2017 and has adopted collaboration as its key developmental strategy to sustain in the competitive market. For instance, CEVA, Inc. collaborated with Keysight Technologies, Inc. to demonstrate a new PentaG 5G New Radio (NR) IP platform for enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) at Mobile World Congress 2018.
Synopsys, Inc. was founded in 1986. It develops electronic design automation (EDA) software products. The company offers Verification Continuum Platform, FPGA design products, and a galaxy design platform. It also provides verification IP products, system-on-chip infrastructure IP, design ware intellectual property (IP) solutions and datapath & building block IP. Further, it offers configurable processor cores, libraries & embedded memories, mathematical & floating-point components and application-specific instruction-set processor tools. It has an operational presence in the U.S., Asia-Pacific, Europe, Japan. Product launch is one of the prime strategies adopted by the company to improve its product portfolio.
Rambus Inc. designs and manufactures semiconductor products, operating its business through memory and interfaces, security, and other segments. It is engaged in licensing of technology and solutions related to memory and interfaces for chip, system, and in-field application security, anti-counterfeiting, smart ticketing and mobile payments. Further, it is involved in the licensing of technologies for advanced LED-based lighting solutions, system integration, and other services. The key strategy adopted by Rambus is product launch.
The global semiconductor IP market possesses high growth potential as the demand for IP core has been witnessed to increase considerably, particularly in the developing economies, such as China and India. Therefore, companies in this market are adopting various techniques, such as product launches and collaborations to provide customers with advanced and innovative product offerings.