Synopsys above ARM in IP licensing revenue in 2019

March 25, 2020 // By Peter Clarke
Synopsys above ARM in IP licensing revenue in 2019
In terms of revenues for up-front technology licensing for semiconductor intellectual property (IP) Synopsys outperformed ARM in 2019, according to figures from market analysis firm IPnest.

ARM continued to lead the market in total IP revenues because it vastly outperforms its competitors with royalties on the billions of ARM IP cores shipped each year. However, in a now familiar pattern, ARM's total IP revenue declined slightly in 2019 in a market that grew. This is similar to what happened in both 2018 and 2017.

The reason for ARM's decline was not the arrival of RISC-V alternatives but rather the growing significance of non-processor forms of IP, according to IPnest principal Eric Esteve, who has produced a substantial annual report on the state of the semiconductor IP market in 2019.

Companies ranked by semiconductor design IP revenue in 2019 (millions of dollars). Source: IPnest (March 2020).

It is notable that Imagination Technologies, now owned by Chinese interests through private equity firm Canyon Bridge Capital Partners LLC (Palo, Alto, Calif.), saw its IP revenue fall 18.9 percent and Wave Computing, owner of MIPS processor IP licensing business, fell out of the top ten ranking in 2019.

ARM once controlled 50 percent of the IP market and still leads the market but was down to 40.8 percent market share in 2019 from 44.7 percent in 2018, according to IPnest's figures. Second-ranked Synopsys increased its revenues by 13.8 percent to claim 18.2 percent of the market. The IP revenue of third-placed Cadence jumped 22.9 percent giving the company 5.9 percent of the market.

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