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Still alive!

Despite perceptions, it’s not yet time to write the asic’s obituary. By Paul Dempsey.

The topic at this year’s Globalpress Electronics Summit was provocative: ‘Can anything save asics?’ and the question drew lively responses from a broad based panel.
Our dramatis personae. Three came from asic design. Elie Massabki, vice president of marketing at ChipX, Naveed Sherwani, chairman and CEO of Open Silicon, and Hugh Durdan, vp of marketing for eSilicon. They represent a newer breed of ‘fabless asic’ specialist, although work with both OEMs and silicon vendors.
From over the fence came Dennis Kish, vp of marketing for fpga specialist Actel, and Steve Carlson, vp of marketing for Cadence Design Systems.
Whilst there was consensus that the business has changed – and will continue to do so – Kish disputed the notion that asics are at death’s door.
“According to Gartner, asics were a $23billion market last year and, from 2002 to 2010, will grow a little faster than the overall semiconductor market,” he noted. “That’s got me scratching my head. Why are we debating whether or not asics can survive when the numbers are going up and to the right?”
Rather, it seems the traditional asic model is in terminal trouble.

Author
Paul Dempsey

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