Competing with "Free" Software

Tough Survivors

As I said in the last blog entry, independent embedded C/C++ compiler companies are becoming rare birds. Of the independent companies that support multiple platforms, besides us ImageCraft, there are Green Hills (US), IAR (SE), Cosmic (FR), Rowley (UK), and… um, I think that’s it. Since being bought up, Hiware/Metrowerks primarily target Freescale chips; Hi-Tech clearly will concentrate only on Microchip’s PIC; Keil, despite being an “ARM company,” still sell tools for the 8051, C166 etc. probably because the money is good, but who knows how long that will last?… Most  if not all compiler companies were started by compiler gearheads (who else would be crazy enough to start a compiler company?) a while ago. In fact Cosmic and ImageCraft are tangentially related through our lineage with Whitsemiths. With the different product pricing and the vast number of embedded devices, most of us in fact do not compete directly with each other per se. However, there is …

The GCC Equation 

(dun dun duuuuunnnn…..)

Different embedded compiler companies “die” for different reasons, most likely financially related, and in 2009, the GCC equation must be a factor directly or indirectly. (Click on …more… to continue)


And Then There is One Less….

Embedded compiler and tool companies are endangered species. When I first joined Whitesemiths, the whole C compiler market was still new. Since then, there must have been at least a dozen DOS/Windows C compiler companies that have come and gone, and probably even more embedded C compiler companies have disappeared in the same period.

A popular trend is for silicon vendors to buy up compiler companies, nominally to ensure that they have full support for their chips. Motorola bought Hiware a few years back, and now Microchip just purchased Hi-Tech software.

Among embedded compiler companies that support multiple platforms, we are among a small handful of survivors. We understand the difficulties facing us.  We have been in business since 1994 and expect to be around for quite a bit longer. The economic situation made us re-examine our business model and development strategiesand we think that we can remain independent and continue to be successful.