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Freescale in strategic partnerships with Mentor, Enea and Green Hills

April 26, 2010

This has been quite an eventful day. Today, Freescale Semiconductor signed strategic partnership agreements with Mentor Graphics, Enea and Green Hills Software to establish comprehensive enablement solutions for Freescale’s QorIQ, PowerQUICC and StarCore processors.

Freescale and its strategic software partners intend to share IP, invest jointly in product and technology roadmaps, and collaborate on go-to-market activities.

According to Raja Tabet, vice president, Software & Systems Organization, Networking & Multimedia Group, Freescale, the company’s strategic alliance with Mentor focuses on enabling highly optimized Linux solutions for PowerQUICC and QorIQ processors. Mentor and Freescale will use a common Linux distribution for PowerQUICC and QorIQ processors.

He said: “Mentor is our strategic partner on Linux, We will be aligning with Mentor around a common Linux development distribution methodology. We will no longer have our own distribution methodolgy. The objective for us is to allow seamless migration for our customers from free Linux to commercially supported Linux.

“With Green Hills — a premier provider of OS and tools –we are making sure that we have a broad support  for our product portfolio. When our products are launched, people will have premium support from our partners such as Green Hills. These are for PowerQUICC and QorIQ processors.

“With Enea, the alliance is on enabling the highly optimized versions of OSE, OSEck, Optima Tools and related software for PowerQUICC and QorIQ processors as well as StarCore DSPs.”

On the timing of these agreements, Tabet said: “We have been working on a model for quite some time. Ths announcrment, we’ve been planning it for a while. We wanted to put our silicon out there and add software system partners. The name of the game was pushing the clock speed. We see move from single to multi-core.

“We need to invest much more heavily among ourselves and our partners. We need different partnership strategies. We need to decide what investment to put into software and what investment into our partners.”

He added: “We have been working on these strategic alliances for quite some time now and as the leader in providing processors into the networking market wanted to lead the way in setting a high bar for silicon-software vendor collaboration for multi-core devices.

“We believe that effective multicore support necessitates deep, collaborative and early investment between silicon vendors and software partners to truly provide an optimized silicon-software experience. Additionally, given the recent consolidation in the industry, we wanted to reaffirm our commitment to enabling a healthy independent ecosystem of partners and help customers maintain a choice of software vendors for our devices.”

So, what do all the three partners — Mentor, Green Hills and Enea — stand to gain?

For our partners we hope that we will see an expanded market share. They recognize, and end customers are also recognizing the importance of embedded platforms. They know that Freescale is no. 1 in the overall networking market. Additionally, we sit down and have a discussion around the technologies between us and partners. The customers will also have a choice on the number of software solutions.”

On Mentor, Tabet further added that the EDA provider has had an embedded division for quite some time. “The growth they have had from Linux is more than many of the existing Linux distribution houses. We are alighing with them very strategically. Linux is becoming very important for networking. The same drivers and IP made available to Mentor, are also made available to other two partners.”

He said: “Freescale is expected to benefit from these strategic alliances through enabling our partners (IP sharing and close technical collaboration) to provide Freescale device-specific optimizations and deliver software to customers close to silicon availability. Over time, we expect that such close partnerships will deliver unparalled time-to-market, cost reduction and application performance for our mutual end customers. ”

The key message here is: Freescale opted not to go and create an all inhouse software strategy. “We have enough inhouse capability and are self sufficient. We also felt that a companion strategy would benefit us. The partners woud have their own value add and differentiating technology to offer.”

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  1. Dr. MP Divakar
    April 27, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Nice post…

    I think in the value chain, GreenHill probably ranks in the bottom of this marriage. The partnership certainly makes sense for Freescale since it can not (& should not) afford to expend resources on OS software.

    From Mentor’s perspective, I look at this more as legitimizing Linux as a recognized platform in EDA than anything else. To that, Mentor may have a leg up on Cadence, though I am not sure about this.

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