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January 29, 1998

MICROSOFT AND INTEL PLAN ASSAULT ON EDA MARKET

By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp are set to shift the workstation battle with Unix up another gear in the next few weeks by announcing a new initiative to get key electronic design applications on to Windows NT. Microsoft is trying to scale Unix’s stronghold segment by market segment and has, according to NT workstation zealot NEC Corp, already captured the key CAD/CAM applications such as Parametric and SDRC for NT. Microsoft and Intel are supposedly set to target the likes of Cadence, Synopsys and Mentor Graphics through Intel’s application porting centers. Only a handful of Cadence applications – including PCB design and Verilog – currently run on NT as well as Unix. Cadence says it’s working with Intel and Microsoft to speed the development of platforms capable of running its chip and system design products and expects more applications will become available on NT this year. It doesn’t think WinTel yet offers enough performance for its most compute-intensive design code however. Mentor Graphics’ plan calls for all its board-level design products to be up on NT by the end of this year. Some tools are available on NT now the rest follow in two tranches this quarter (board station, library management) and by year-end (Interconnectix and analog simulation). It doesn’t think NT-based PCB design spending will outpace Unix revenue until 2001. Synopsys, whose .lib format technology is use widely to examine flow-through in semiconductor design, doesn’t currently show support for NT in any capacity on its platform support web page. Microsoft’s clearly got a long way to go before NT attracts hardcore Unix developers. NEC expects its NT workstation line-up will look much stronger in a few weeks’ time. The US execs we spoke to say they think Compaq Computer Corp got DEC for a steal and said they’ve drooled over the prospect of getting DEC’s NT and services skills.

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