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All change in the fpga market

The programmable logic market has always been a hard place to do business. The reason? It's dominated by two big companies, which means other competitors have to carve a specific niche for themselves.

Over the years, many companies - some big names - have tried the market and failed. Only one company - Actel - has stayed the pace, guided for most of that time by president and ceo John East.

East announced his retirement in February and the search for his successor has continued since then. Whether the Actel board couldn't find the right person or whether the right person didn't want the job is open for discussion. But the search can how be put on hold as Actel has been bought by analogue specialist Microsemi for $430million in a cash deal.

The deal seems a bit of a strange at first sight, but there is common ground: Actel has pioneered mixed signal technology in fpgas.

The big question now is whether Microsemi can digest Actel - or whether it will want to.

Graham Pitcher

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