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Winning by design - Business & Finance Electronic News,.

Winning by design - Business & Finance Electronic News, Feb 4, 2002 by Richard Ball.

The semiconductor industry as a whole may have had a poor year, but the design automation companies have bucked the trend.Despite a catastrophic year for the chip industry, design automation companies have continued to prosper, a fact underlined by Cadence Design Systems Inc.'s announcement of record revenues in 200l.

Cadence, the largest of the EDA companies, posted revenues of $1.43 billion for last year, up 12 percent on 2000, despite the year's woes for Cadence's customers. Earnings for the 12-month period were $141 million."I was very pleased with the results," said Ray Bingham, CEO of Cadence. "The big wins for us came in the synthesis, place and route (SP&R) area, with many competitive successes.

"These high-end tools that integrate the SP&R grew well through 2001, up 54 percent to $170 million in revenue.It is largely irrelevant if the semiconductor companies that are Cadence's customers do well or badly, Bingham said, since the effect on the EDA market is heavily attenuated. "Customer results are driven by manufacturing volumes. Whether a new product sells a single copy or a billion copies, it still has to be designed," he said.Other factors in the industry affect product revenue, Bingham said.

"The other big area was continued strength in custom IC layout tools for analog and mixed signal."The shift to more advanced processes remains one of the largest drivers for new software. Layout tools for analog and mixed signal chips grew at 40 percent during the year, driven by demand for voice and multimedia, Bingham said.

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