I bought Cadence as a long term excelent bet because in my opinion:
1. Cadence tools are better integrated with their design framework. The industry now wants integrated tools in deep submicron and worry more about solving the increasingly complex electrical and physical problems rather than just toolflow issues. 2. Though Cadence service in notoriously bad, Avant! is worse. 3. Pricing structure from Avant! is extremely bad. No discounts or flexibility and unannounced major price hikes really have hacked off customers bigtime. 4. Legal issues have scared people away from their products with the worry Aquarius BV may go that way. Though now there is XO, once bitten, twice shy. 5. As for other vendors, Mentor are off the radar except backend extraction products, and Synopsys arent yet significantly overlapping products. The aquisition of Epic has led to a couple of possible point tool overlaps with AMPS etc but these are still early products and may not bear fruit.
Cadence subcontract to their own Spectrum services at top $ to address most support issues that arise. Many issues need a lot of work for what are arguably bugs or basic customer instalation and service. To get someone onsite to for example integrate a tool into the design flow (this is a good customer lock-in for Cadence) the customer feels somewhat ripped off when it costs $200+ per hour. The quality of service is however generaly good depending on who you get. As a customer I'd expect some forms of service included in the licensing agreement.
It was worse 3+ years ago. Mentor generaly is good with a flexible service agreement. Avant! is varied degrees of poorness.
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