Cadence made the huge, huge mistake of "giving" software away for free to their customers or potential customers just to prevent missing their numbers for the year. This set a very bad precedence, not to mention devaluing the tools and then potentially EDA overall, which is why some might think "EDA is dead" or "there's no future in EDA". Why then, would EDA s/w vendors do this? Not all of them do; you have to look at the source; Cadence. They lost sight of what was really important like developing tools for their customers and the industry and concentrated on creatively doing whatever it took to look good on the street. This kind of business can't be sustained. It's not all Fister or the executive team's fault. It's what has become of corporate America over the last 15 years or so; they've let the MBAs and their greedy mentality for making money fast dominate, especially in Silicon Valley (how many CEOs per square mile?). Synopsys was headed in this direction about 8 years ago, then they went back to school. They've invested in "people managers" again, whereas Corporate America, conversely, has been substituting MBAs (with slicky-dicky sales mentalities) for managers with motivational, organizational and technical skills. Much of these talented folks left Cadence (either on their own or through house cleaning) and landed at Synopsys or Mentor Graphics. If Cadence wants to become "reborn", or if Corporate America wants to get back to producing great products and great services, then they need great leaders and leadership skill sets. Plain and simple.
The EDA industry is "un-natural" in that aside from the big 4, there are hordes of smaller firms populated by engineers who left the big companies. These small companies keep getting bought by the big guys, therefore reenforcing the notion that EDA IP is transitory and that anyone can do it. Look at Cadence... most of their big acquisitions over the past 5 years were for companies run by people who left Cadence. This is like paying for R&D twice. Who ever heard of Intel, or AMD buying their next generation product from a bunch of guys who left the company. This is precisely what the EDA biggies have been doing for years.
From the CEO on down, the salaries paid to EDA employees (including Cadence) is significantly higher than the salaries paid to peers in the rest of the semi industry. As much as the employees whine about Fister, he paid them at EDA wages and not what a similar engineer would make at Intel or AMD. That's a fact... A new CEO is likely to figure this out early and then we'll see some whining.
There is a huge future for this industry if (1) wages and spending come down to industry norms (2) IP remains inside the EDA companies (3) they all quit the goofy rev-rec games they play to make their financials look better. If you spend more time selling receivables than you do developing new products, the results will speak for themselves.
The industry needs to get back to basics... develop products people are willing to buy and then sell those products. Reinvest in the future not in management perks Quit buying start-ups... This all takes discipline and discipline is something the EDA industry lacks right now.