In keeping with my blog thesis, the companies that sell the silicon pieces in the form of wafers should own the high-end tools and offer those for free to their customers. Companies like Intel could lock their customers into buying the company's silicon developed with the free tools, just as Sunstone locks down its PCB123 customers. Even a consortium of foundry companies, including TSMC, could buy and then openly share the EDA tools.
Regardless of how it would shake out, everybody would win, and innovation could move forward at an even faster pace.
Scott Elder, principal engineer with Linear Technology, is a 28-year veteran of analog IC design and the named inventor on 16 patents, all in the fields of precision analog signal processing, power management, RF CMOS, and LED drivers.