By Norman Einspruch (Eds.)

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Customers find these ASIC design centers attractive because now the ASIC design interface is at their doorstep. By being in the field and next to distribution locations these ASIC design centers can also be used for broad market penetration. Small customers can now come directly to the ASIC design center for their ASIC needs. Also, follow-up for customers located through distribution channels can be done effectively through these ASIC design centers. To be effective, ASIC design centers have to be adequately supported by the ASIC factory in terms of technical staffing, proper equipment, free-flow of information, quick response, and necessary support.

The following graph (Fig. 9) shows some of the salient features for the ASIC product life cycle. The development phase is associated with high development costs and DESIGN-IN VOLUME 1 J DEVELOPMENT MATURITY DECLINE END-OF-LIFE TRENDS PRICE HIGH COST HIGH-MARGIN HIGH -> LOW -> LOW -> LOW SEGMENT DEMANDS COMPUTER COMMUNICATION MILITARY > > > AUTOMOTIVE CONSUMER Fig. 9. ASIC product life cycle. -> -> 54 Dev Chakravarty products and technology are driven in the main by the computer segment, followed quickly by users in the communications segment.

To allow for a free exchange of information between customer and vendor requires nondisclosure agreements to be signed that protect the flow of confidential information between both parties. Also, as we have seen, the long design cycles for ASICs and the criticality of the ASIC devices in the finished products requires drafting detailed contracts that protect both users and suppliers. These contracts not only specify the price basis over the product life cycle and the turnaround times, but also detail the contingencies.

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