Skip to main content

IBM and Mentor Graphics to Expand Reach of PowerPC Chip Architecture for Embedded Consumer and Communications Applications

Select a topic or year

Fishkill, N.Y. & Wilsonville, ORE - 09 Nov 1998: ... IBM and Mentor Graphics Corporation (NASDAQ:MENT) today announced a strategic licensing relationship that allows Mentor Graphics to offer IBM PowerPC 401 and 405 embedded processor "cores" as part of its extensive library of proven commercial cores. The agreement enables design teams to incorporate IBM PowerPC architecture and performance into systems-on-a-chip for next-generation consumer and communications products.

The agreement is unique in that this is the first time a 32-bit microprocessor architecture will be available through an independent intellectual property (IP) provider. Typically, such technology is licensed through semiconductor vendors and manufacturers, and is linked to those providers' foundries.

The agreement will extend the use of IBM's embedded PowerPC architecture by making it available through Mentor Graphics' worldwide IP sales force and its Mentor Consulting division, specializing in design reuse methodologies and IP integration.

Embedded processors, like the PowerPC 401 and 405, are special-function microprocessors designed to carry out specific tasks. They can be combined with other functions to create "systems" on a single chip using sophisticated design software tools like those from Mentor Graphics. With PowerPC cores available for such tools, more customers will be able to incorporate the PowerPC into their chip designs.

"This agreement will broaden the availability of IBM's PowerPC architecture and other intellectual property for new opportunities," said Ron Tessitore, director of microcontroller development, IBM Microelectronics. "This relationship with Mentor Graphics will further strengthen PowerPC's role as a leading architecture for embedded applications."

As a result of the agreement between IBM and Mentor Graphics, customers will receive one-stop, easy access to PowerPC-based designs. Mentor Graphics will be able to directly sub-license the PowerPC 401 and 405 cores, enabling improved time-to-market for chip designers. The agreement, which also grants Mentor Graphics the right to sub-license IBM's processor local bus and on-chip peripheral bus architectures, is a significant step in making IBM's PowerPC embedded chip designs more broadly available. The Mentor Graphics intellectual property portfolio, in particular its physical layer DSP offerings, opens many new design possibilities in a range of markets and complements IBM's intellectual property and manufacturing expertise.

IBM and Mentor Graphics have existing relationships in which IBM licenses Mentor Graphics' Inventra intellectual property (including its Virtual Library) and Mentor Graphics supports the PowerPC 401 and 405 cores in its hardware/software co-verification environment.

"IBM's agreement with Mentor Graphics demonstrates strong support for our IP publishing business model," said Bernd U. Braune, senior vice president, Mentor Graphics Corporation. "In an industry first, this relationship will put a 32-bit processor directly into the hands of users through independent distribution -- in an open environment not tied to any foundry."

Embedded processors enable a range of consumer and business products that support and connect to the network
infrastructure -- including data communications and consumer devices like cable modems and ISDN communications equipment. Such chips will also help enable a form of "pervasive computing," where tens of billions of small "information appliances" are connected to networks conducting trillions of financial and information transactions each day.

Revenues for IBM's PowerPC embedded processors doubled during 1997, an indication of both the growth in embedded applications and the success of the PowerPC architecture in the marketplace.

Mentor Graphics Corporation (NASDAQ: MENT) is a world leader in electronic hardware and software design solutions, providing products and consulting services for the world's largest electronics and semiconductor companies. Established in 1981, the company reported revenues over the last 12 months of $468 million and employs approximately 2,500 people worldwide. Company headquarters are located at 8005 S.W. Boeckman Road, Wilsonville, Oregon 97070-7777. World Wide Web site:

Additional information about IBM can be found at Information regarding IBM Microelectronics' products is available at

# # #

Contact(s) information

Phillip Bergman
(914) 892-5204

Tom Breunig
for Mentor Graphics
(206) 463-1830

Suzanne Graham
Mentor Graphics
(503) 685-7789