News: Mentor, RIM buy embedded software firms

Michael Rielly

December 06, 2010

 SAN JOSE, Calif. [via] Mentor Graphics has acquired some of the assets of CodeSourcery, Inc., a provider of open source GNU-based tools and services. The news comes the same day Research in Motion announced it has bought The Astonishing Tribe (TAT), a developer of custom open source and user interface code for mobile devices. Mentor's move helps it expand beyond its embedded runtime products more deeply into tools.

Mark Mitchell, chief executive of CodeSourcery (Granite Bay, CA), will oversee Mentor's embedded tools business. CodeSourcery is known for its GNUcompilers assemblers, linkers, debuggers and other tools such the Sourcery G++ environment and Sourcery VSIPL++ image-processing tools. "The quality of tools is key to the perceived performance of silicon," said Mitchell who has worked with a wide variety of chip makers including ARM, Freescale, MIPS, Renesas and Texas Instruments.

“We believe that the future of embedded development depends on the wide availability of open source software and tools," said Glenn Perry, general manager of Mentor's embedded software division.

Mentor acquired Embedded Alley in 2009 in part to gain access to its port of Android on MIPS. For its part, RIM acquired TAT to beef up its user interface and embedded software development teams.

"Today we are pleased to confirm plans for The Astonishing Tribe team to join Research In Motion," wrote RIM CTO David Yach in a blog post. "We're excited that the TAT team will be joining RIM and bringing their talent to the BlackBerry PlayBook and smartphone platforms."

The deals come at a time when the size of software stacks on mobile and embedded systems continues to grow in size and complexity, Perry said. Mentor's embedded group has competed with TAT for some system software design deals, sources said. TAT has 150 people and claims it has software running in 500 million phones. Perry would not say how many people Mentor brought on from CodeSourcery, but he did say the Mentor acquired all its products including runtime environment. A handful of Mentor's chip customers welcomed the CodeSourcery acquisition, including representatives from ARM, Freescale, MIPS, NetLogic and Texas Instruments. SOURCE