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Some funds may be used to acquire an embedded services company or hire engineers. Mistral also wants to develop its own intellectual property and expand sales and marketing efforts in the U.S.


Some funds may be used to acquire an embedded services company or hire engineers. Mistral also wants to develop its own intellectual property and expand sales and marketing efforts in the U.S.

The lesson for users, architects and developers is sweeping, Gardner says. From here on out, they will not only have to look at a product on its technical merits, but they'll also have to try to figure out what the legal risks are,” he adds. Good news for the lawyers, no doubt. But for the rest of the industry, probably not.

SIDEBAR:Green Hills vs. Express Logic — The End of a Beautiful Friendship?


The troubles between Green Hills and Express Logic will probably mark the end of what is now an eight-year-old business relationship. Green Hills has been a licensed reseller of Express Logic's ThreadX since 1998, and it became an important partner. In fact, as of 2002, Green Hills was contributing roughly 40 percent of Express Logic's total annual revenue, according to John Carbone, Express Logic's vice president of marketing.

All that was jeopardized this past April, when the two companies exhibited at the 2006 Embedded Systems Conference Silicon Valley in San Jose, Calif. It was there that Green Hills introduced micro-velOSity. We happened to be in the booth right next to Green Hills,” Carbone says. We thought it inappropriate for them to be selling a product which was directly competitive with one they're reselling. But when we saw the code, we thought, 'Hey, that looks familiar—it looks like the ThreadX API.' ”

Dan O'Dowd, CEO of Green Hills, says the two firms had been edging toward a termination of their reseller agreement as far back as last year. (Under the terms of the reseller contract, both companies must sign off to terminate the relationship.) In fact, the two companies had agreed that the end date would be this past March 31.


But one week before ESC, O'Dowd says, Express came back to us and said they didn't want to end the relationship. We thought that was a little inconvenient, because we've got this new product, micro-velOSity, which we were going to announce a week after the relationship was supposed to have ended. Express was surprised about that. But I was surprised that they were surprised. We'd actually shipped the product to customers even before the announcement.”

If the two companies are forced to work together in the future, the relationship probably won't be a pleasant one. If Green Hills loses this case, that will lead them back to reselling ThreadX,” Carbone says. If they're proven correct, then life will go on. But it will be hard for us to compete against our own product.”


O'Dowd agrees: I don't think there's a heck of a lot of future there. Even assuming Express Logic wins, why would we sell their product at this point? We've got a dozen other products we could sell with companies we have good relationships with.” —L.L.

LARRY LANGE is a freelance writer and former senior editor with TechWeb,, EE Times, and IEEE Spectrum.

SAN FRANCISCO — EDA startup Rio Design Automation Inc.'s package-aware chip design software has been integrated with Magma Design Automation Inc.'s Talus IC implementation product, extending Talus' RTL-to-GDSII capabilities to include package prototyping, according to the companies.

The results of the integration offers design teams a way to convey chip information to the package engineer under a uniform design environment and lets designers compare bump mismatches with a new package or floorplan design and to investigate die size/package cost tradeoffs, the companies said.

A true chip/package co-design flow can only be achieved when there is a tight integration between design domains,” said Kam Kittrell, general manager of Magma's design implementation business unit, in a statement. Talus' automated floorplanning combined with RioMagic's automated package-aware I/O site planning is unmatched in the industry for performance and optimal die size.”

RioMagic, said to be the first commercially available package aware IC design tool during its introduction in January, is described as an interconnect synthesis tool that can generate a detailed I/O placement, bump assignment, ball assignment and package routing before a design is turned over to packaging engineers.Magma (Santa Clara, Calif.) rolled out Talus, the next-generation platform succeeding the company's Blast platform, in April.

Santa Cruz, Calif. — Setting its sights on the big leagues, Sierra Design Automation Inc. will come to next week's Design Automation Conference (DAC) with a netlist-to-GDSII IC implementation system that includes a lithography driven” detailed routing capability. In so doing, the young company is challenging a placement-and-routing ecosystem dominated by three much larger players–and must answer the question of whether there is room for one more.


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