I loved the posts about how SNPS Preferred Vendor Deals are just an exchange of money/terms for press release. But this Exar deal looks and smells much more of a ethics issue because one of the SNPS VPs (Gary Meyers) is on Exar's board. When you go to Exar's website it has his bio, but it doesn't mention he works for SNPS, just Synplicity. Hmmm....while I don't think this is illegal in any way, it certainly puts the impression of backroom deals and buddy-buddy system as why there was this PR between Exar and SNPS. Hard to imagine the cafeteria serving Coke when the one of the board members is from Pepsi....
Actually, yes we should. Maybe that's why you don't see press releases on financial deals between Cadence and SMIC or Flextronics. There is an CDNS/SMIC "reference flow" which Synopsys also has. All of these companies have codes of conduct that make it sound like they will avoid conflicts of interest. With the amount of money spent on design tools, these are board level decisions; how can there not be a conflict of interest with the Exar deal? This isn't about SNPS being cleaner or dirtier than CDNS; there are a lot of deals done through buddy-buddy relationships by all EDA companies. It's about skirting the edge of conflict of interest and then putting out a press release on that. It makes SNPS look like it will sacrifice nothing (margin, ethics, etc) to lock up as many companies into preferred vendor deals as it can while Cadence is weak.
Do you really think a board member will tell the engineers which software to use for designing their chips?
Engineers ask for what they like and what they are used to. The engineering managers typically will not go against what the engineers want unless there is a compelling reason. No board member will try to interfere with that since no-one wants to be the guy responsible for a failed chip release since the engineers were forced to use a different design flow than what they were used to.
Most of these PV Deals come from companies who are long time users and have standardized on the SNPS' design flow. There are very few companies out there who switch vendors just to get a better deal. The engineering cycles spent and the additional risk taken on is not worth it unless you are a giant like Intel with a huge army of engineers setting up new design flow.
Most likely the company was a long time user of SNPS' products and decided to do a press release thanks to the Board contact.
BTW SNPS' is the leader in this space since it is run by engineers who know what engineers want. It is not run by a bunch of ex-managers from Intel who were trying to position the company for a sale to Private Equity or a pair of CEOs who are unwilling to merge in spite of compelling business reasons, since only one of them can be a CEO in the merged company.