IP Core Store builds a better mousetrap

A fledgling company called IPextreme has come out with a new business model for distributing semiconductor intellectual property to the fabless semiconductor folks. It's best characterized as Amazon.com for semiconductor IP. The new company helps developers at the low-footprint end of the embedded-system industry create their own highly integrated system-on-chip ICs.

01/24/2008


Campbell, CA —A fledgling company called IPextreme has come out with a new business model for distributing semiconductor intellectual property (IP) to the fabless semiconductor folks. It's best characterized as Amazon.com for semiconductor IP. The new company helps developers at the low-footprint end of the embedded-system industry create their own highly integrated system-on-chip (SOC) ICs.
Larger semiconductor companies, such as Freescale Semiconductor generate and test many IP blocks (which are actually VHDL descriptions that the downstream fab uses to create the masks, etc., needed to fabricate chips) for use in their standard products. IP blocks implement various functions, such as bus controllers, analog-to-digital convertors, memory sections--and microprocessor cores.
These blocks typically have usefulness outside of the standard devices the company plans to put into production, so they make them available to fabless semiconductor companies for non-standard products. Companies developing chips in this way are called fabless semiconductor developers because they do design work, but contract out the actual IC fabrication to third parties.
Fabless semiconductor companies mix and match the IP blocks to design SOC ICs especially for non-standard applications. They then contract excess capacity at semiconductor fabrication facilities to make and package the actual chips. One of the biggest problems with the current purchase-chain model is that purchasing IP blocks involves a lot of negotiation on price and contract details, which incurs large legal fees, but provides very limited value. Another problem is that, after purchasing the IP blocks the fabless semiconductor company still has the problem of making all of the IP blocks work together.
IPextreme's Core Store is a way to distribute these IP blocks more efficiently and at lower cost to the fabless semiconductor companies. They have (so far) contracted with three IP developers ( National Semiconductor , Freescale Semiconductor, and Infineon Technologies ) to "catalog" selected IP blocks. Embedded system developers can go to the company’s Website, browse the catalog, pick out the IP blocks they need, and purchase them online. According to sources at IPextreme and Freescale, the business model's efficiency makes it possible to lower the price point by as much as 10X. In addition, as part of their service IPextreme modifies the IP blocks to include additional hooks needed to connect IP blocks from different developers together into a working circuit.
Also, read the Daily News story about IPextreme.

C.G. Masi , senior editor





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.