Cadence, headquartered in San Jose, California, is a supplier of electronic design technologies and engineering services in the electronic design automation (EDA) industry. The company develops software used to design chips and printed circuit boards, as well as intellectual properties (IP) covering a broad range of areas, including interfaces, memory, analog, SoC peripherals, dataplane processing units, and verification.
At the end of 2013, the company employed more than 5,200 people and reported 2013 revenues of approximately $1.46 billion. In November 2007 Cadence was named one of the "50 Best Places to Work in Silicon Valley" by San Jose Magazine.
The new Cadence research and development building opened on February 9, 2009
In January 2009 the company announced the appointment of Lip-Bu Tan as President and CEO. Tan was most recently CEO of Walden International, a venture capital firm, and remains chairman of the firm. He has served on the Cadence Board of Directors since 2004, where he served on the Technology Committee for four years.
As silicon capacity continues to grow, design engineers continue to face increasing design complexity, not to mention short design cycles. Cadence's approach to helping design engineers meet their challenges, and supporting them in their application-driven design approach, is to provide solutions that help them optimize their designs from a variety of standpoints. There are solutions used to move a design into packaged silicon, with products for custom and analog design, digital design, mixed-signal design, verification, and package and PCB design. To help integrate, verify, and implement complex digital SoCs, there are solutions that encompass design IP, timing analysis and signoff, services, and tools and methodologies. The company also provides products that assist with the development of complete hardware and software platforms that support end applications.
In 2013, Cadence celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Cadence's product offerings are targeted at various types of design and verification tasks which include:
Palladium series - Accelerators and emulators for hardware and software co-verification and system-level verification.
Design IP: Cadence provides design IP targeting areas including memory (DRAM), covering DDR1, DDR2, DDR3, DDR4, LPDDR2, LPDDR3, LPDDR4, and Wide I/O; storage (non-volatile memory), covering NVM Express and NAND Flash controller and PHY; and high-performance interface protocols such as PCI Express Gen3, 40/100G Ethernet, and USB 2 and USB 3.
Integration Optimized IP (Design IP) Cadence offers Vertically Integrated IP, inclusive of Digital Controller, Serdes Layer, and Device Driver. Protocols supported include USB, DDR, PCI-Express, 10G-40G Ethernet, and On Chip Bus Fabric.
OrCAD/PSpice - Tools for smaller design teams and individual PCB designers.
Sigrity technologies - Tools for signal and power verification for system-level signoff verification and interface compliance.
In addition to EDA software, Cadence provides contracted methodology and design services as well as silicon design IP, and has a program aimed at making it easier for other EDA software to interoperate with the company's tools.
Lawsuits with Avant! and Mentor/Aptix
Cadence was involved in a long running (6 years) legal dispute with Avanti Corporation, in which Cadence claimed Avant! stole Cadence code, and Avant! denied it. According to Business Week "The Avant! case is probably the most dramatic tale of white-collar crime in the history of Silicon Valley". The Avant! executives eventually pleaded no contest and Cadence received several hundred million dollars in restitution. Avant! was then purchased by Synopsys, which paid $265 million more to settle the remaining claims. The case resulted in a number of legal precedents.
The Cadence group Quickturn was also involved in a series of legal events with Mentor Graphics/Aptix. Mentor purchased rights to an Aptix patent, then sued Cadence. In this case, the CEO of Aptix, Amr Mohsen, forged a notebook in order to make the patent case stronger. When suspicions were raised, he staged a break-in of his own car to get rid of the evidence, resulting in charges of obstruction of justice. Trying to avoid this, he attempted to flee the country, only to be caught with an illegal passport and a pile of cash. While in jail for this offense, he was recorded offering money to intimidate witnesses and kill the judge. In order to fight the new charges, he tried to feign psychological problems, but left a trail of evidence of his research into this defense, and how it might be done. He was charged with attempting to delay a federal trial by feigning incompetency, but was convicted anyway. According to the lawyers concerned, the original notebooks were not needed for the trial. The patent filing date, which was not in dispute, would have sufficed.
Top executives resign, layoffs
On October 15, 2008, Cadence President and CEO Michael Fister and four other top executives resigned, namely Executive Vice President of Worldwide Field Operations Kevin Bushby, Executive Vice President of Products and Technologies Organization James S. Miller Jr, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer William Porter and Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs R.L. Smith McKeithen. This was followed by a large layoff of 20 to 25% of Cadence's employees.
In 2009 Cadence announced that they would lay-off 225 employees, and new CEO Lip-Bu Tan voluntarily reduced his salary by 20%; Cadence's senior vice-presidents took a pay cut of 10%.
In January 2010 Cadence laid-off an additional 120 workers.
Acquisition and merger timeline
May 1997: acquired Cooper & Chyan Technology, a provider of PCB and IC automatic place and router software solutions.
October 2002: acquired IBM's Test Design Automation group
September 2003: acquired Verplex Systems, a provider of Formal Verification products, Conformal Solutions and Blacktie Property Checker.
April 6, 2004: acquired Neolinear Technology, a privately held company specializing in rapid analog design technology
April 7, 2005: acquired Verisity, Ltd., a provider of verification process automation solutions ($315 million, all cash).
May 10, 2011: acquired Altos Design Automation, Inc., vendor of standard and complex cell libraries for the delivery of complex SoCs at advanced nodes.
July 12, 2011: acquired Azuro, creator of clock concurrent optimization technology
July 2, 2012: acquired Sigrity, a Leader in High-Speed PCB and IC Packaging Analysis
February, 2013: acquired Cosmic Circuits, a provider of analog and mixed signal intellectual property (IP) cores. Cosmic Circuits offers IP products in connectivity and mixed-signal technologies in the 40 nm and 28 nm process nodes, with 20 nm and FinFET in development. The acquisition was completed in May 2013.
March, 2013: acquired Tensilica, known for Dataplane Processing Units (DPU). Tensilica provides configurable and extensible processors along with DPUs for audio, baseband, imaging etc. It has 200 licensees and has shipped 2 billion cores so far.
June, 2013: completed acquisition of the IP business of Evatronix, SA SKA of Poland. This acquisition brings to Cadence IP including certified USB 2.0/3.0, MIPI, display, and storage controllers.
February 14, 2014: acquired Forte Design Systems, a provider of high-level synthesis (HLS) software products. This includes Cynthesizer, a SystemC-based behavioral synthesis tool that enables design creation at a higher level of abstraction.
The company has also acquired Valid Logic Systems, High Level Design (HLD), UniCAD, Quickturn, CadMOS, Simplex, Silicon Perspective, Plato and Get2Chip.