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VLSI Technology Inc.

ASIC pioneer


The company was founded in 1979 by a trio from Fairchild Semiconductor by way of Synertek – Jack Balletto, Dan Floyd, and Gunnar Wetlesen – and by Doug Fairbairn of Xerox PARC and Lambda (later VLSI Design) magazine.

VLSI became an early vendor of standard cell (cell-based technology) to the merchant market in the early 80s.

VLSI’s design tools included not only design entry and simulation but cell-based routing (chip compiler), a datapath compiler, SRAM and ROM compilers, and a state machine compiler. The tools were an integrated design solution for IC design. VLSI spun off the CAD and Library operation into Compass Design Automation.

In 1990, VLSI Technology, along with Acorn Computers and Apple Computer were the founding investing partners in ARM Ltd.

In 1999, VLSI Technology was acquired by Philips Electronics for ~$1 billion, eventually becoming part of Philips’ spin-out NXP.

  • HQ: San Jose, CA, USA
  • Type: Company