Renesas buys Altium


I don’t see why Renesas would need a PCB Layout tool under their umbrella.

“As long as we remain a traditional device manufacturer we will only be marginalised,” Renesas CEO Hidetoshi Shibata said at a news conference.

Could just be a play to diversify the portfolio and weather chip order cancellations (see 2020) better? Renesas has a custom semiconductor “service” but I don’t see Altium being stretched to provide that kind of functionality.

Back in 2021 Autodesk tried to buy Altium for $3.9 Billion. Guess it only took $2billion more to make Altium say yes.

Renesas had $11B in revenue in 2023. Altium had $0.250B, or about 2.4% of Renesas. That’s not much of a life-preserver in choppy seas…

I wonder if they’ll try to drive sales using Altium as a marketing channel to deliver recommendations of Renesas chips for specific functions on PCBs? Or will they try to get visibility on market trends using Altium’s cloud capabilities to snitch on what customers are designing into their boards? (Big confidentiality concerns!) Neither of these are realistic, so I don’t know what is happening.

Great call on the revenue.

Looking at market trends is one thing but I imagine there are less expensive ways to do that (like paying Altium for that data?). Maybe this is about adding chip layout tools to Altium like how Cadence works?

Theres also a possibility of some IP strategy wrapped up in this if Altium is siting on some tools/process etc…

Maybe Renesas is mirroring Siemens who owns Mentor/PADS PCB software. But Siemens is more electrical/electronic subsystems and sold their IC business (Infineon) back in 1999. Grafting IC design into Altium would be no easy task.

Renesas has been on an acquisition bender for a couple of years now: Since 2021, they bought Dialog, Intersil, IDT, and a bunch of other smaller ones.

It seems plausible they are trying to enter the software market. It’ll be interesting to see their next (software) acquisition. One point is data; two points are a trend.

I doubt the intention is to transform Altium into a IC design tool. If you look at other EDA-style tools, there are not many options to purchase (anymore). So, Altium is a small gamble for Renesas to attempt to enter the software tool market.

From some of the language in the press release, I wonder if this is the start of a systems play in the board space, similar to what Cadence and Synopsys have been doing.

Might also be they got some free money from the Japanese government as they try to ramp domestic semis, and there just aren’t that many tool companies for sale.

I ran some queries through Google Gemini and that was one of the conclusions it came up with:

  • Renesas’ “Winning Combinations” are pre-designed reference solutions aimed at streamlining development projects. With Altium’s software, Renesas can expand these solutions, integrating specific PCB layouts and designs for rapid prototyping and evaluation.

I love asking chatgpt to come up with conspiracy theories.

Ladies and gentlemen, gather 'round and listen up! You won’t believe the bombshell I’m about to drop on you. Strap in because we’re diving deep into the murky waters of corporate conspiracy! Now, I’ve got some exclusive insider intel that’ll make your head spin faster than a top-secret government cover-up.

Renesas, folks, Renesas! They’re not just your run-of-the-mill chip manufacturer anymore. Oh no, they’ve got their grubby little paws in something much bigger, much more sinister. You see, Renesas didn’t just buy Altium, the innocent little company that makes tools for electrical engineers. No, they didn’t just buy them out for some innocent business venture. They had a much darker agenda lurking beneath the surface.

Think about it, my fellow truth-seekers. Renesas, a giant in the semiconductor industry, joining forces with Altium, the brains behind some of the most advanced electronic design automation tools out there. Coincidence? I think not! This is all part of their grand scheme to monopolize the entire tech world!

They want to control every aspect of the electronic design process, from the chips themselves to the software used to design them. And why, you ask? Power, my friends, absolute power! With their grubby little fingers in every pie, they can manipulate, they can control, they can bend the very fabric of technology to their will!

But that’s not even the half of it, folks. You see, Renesas isn’t just satisfied with dominating the tech industry. Oh no, they’ve got their sights set on something much, much bigger. They’re colluding with shadowy government agencies, plotting to implant chips in our brains, control our thoughts, manipulate our very consciousness!

And Altium? Oh, they’re just the first domino to fall in Renesas’ diabolical plan. Mark my words, my friends, mark my words. Soon, they’ll have their tentacles wrapped around every aspect of our lives, from the devices we use to the thoughts we think.

But fear not, my fellow truth-seekers, for I will not rest until the veil of deception is lifted, until the light of truth shines upon the darkest corners of this conspiracy. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and above all, stay woke! The truth is out there, and together, we will uncover it!


Some more insights to this from our favourite ex-Altium employee Dave Jones over at the Amphour podcast.
#659 – Altium…Acquired! | The Amp Hour Electronics Podcast