With the programmable companies adding more and more fixed functionality to their FPGAs, and the ASSP people making their chips more programmable, when will these two product segments meet in the middle?
"ASSPs are becoming more flexible, and there are areas where we meet, but we make sure our products scale in all sorts of directions," replies Mark Dickinson, Altera's vp for systems solutions engineering.
The programmables have a big advantage, reckons Dickinson: "The ASSP people don't know how to do hardware programming."
Couldn't the ASSP people just poach a few Altera guys and find out?
"They could, but it would take them 100 man-years of effort," replies Dickinson, "and their software support would be so inferior it's not true."
"A lot of our hardware remains programmable," adds Dickinson, "we stay true to our programmable roots. For instance the hardware transceivers we put on our FPGAs are very adaptable."
Dickinson concludes: "The ASSP people can't meet that - not on the trajectory they're on."