This week I started a poll on asking about the Mentor acqusition of LogicVision. My former Mentor co-worker David Stannard is an expert in the test world and he had a lot to say about this deal, in fact he wanted to say more than what Plaxo would allow so I’ve decided to post his commentary here.

by David Stannard
I think that this is a smart move for Mentor. It further consolidates the strength of their offerings and is a natural continuation of their 2008 NXP (Philips) test technology and customer acquisition.

Mentor’s deterministic (ATPG and compressed ATPG offerings) are the best in the industry. Their logic and memory BIST are very good. Their diagnostics and yield management is very strong and probably the predominant solution used by the semiconductor industry. And they have the key strategic relationships with universities, industry thought leaders and other suppliers to the manufacturing test/yield supply chain.

Logic Vision brings some interesting value from the diagnostics space, some remaining BIST capabilities to round out the already strong Mentor and Mentor/NXP in house solution. LV was selling some of Mentor’s tools (Fastscan) and has provided a strong infrastructure for the at speed clock generation.

Synopsys and Cadence have both abandoned Logic BIST long time back leaving that territory to Mentor and LV.

Additionally, LV was working and has experience in the analog testing space. So it is an excellent blocking move against Cadence (one of their traditional strengths used to be be analog / mixed signal design) moving into analog / mixed signal test.

Mentor like Synopsys have invested into a very knowledgeable AE force, making the products easy to sell by their sales force and have provided all the key elements of the whole solution. Well architected documentation, training, customer support and packaging/pricing. There are a lot of well educated Mentor tool alumni that can be brought into a company and ramp to maximum productivity in the shortest time.

And finally, Mentor’s DFM, layout verification and manufacturing yield improvement leveraging test was already strong prior to acquiring the NXP technology and customers. Mentor has given much more thought and effort into the architecture of a whole product solution. Cadence appears to have largely capitulated from DFM in the Novemeber 2008 RIFF’s while Synopsys has a strong offering. LV provides additional customers to Mentor and the LV install base must just be loving the opportunity to deal with a financially sound, proven long term leader like Synopsys.

As to the Cadence question: in general, Cadence’s solutions have not kept pace at the rate that industry needs. So a consolidation of industry players seems obvious and IMO, Cadence has the weakest position and the most to lose. Synopsys still shows a higher degree of hunger to be a major test player.

So, I feel that this is a win for Mentor, a win for the old LV customers, and increased pressure for Synopsys and Cadence. IMO, Mentor is #1, consolidates its ability to be #1 for existing customers and with the majority of the remaining market being held by Synopsys.

You don’t get fired for purchasing Design Compiler or Prime Time and I believe that you won’t get fired for buying Mentor’s even stronger test tools.