"A turning point for the industry"
And another nail in the coffin, if any more were needed, for Itanic.
Once Intel's AMD64-instruction-set chips have the same system interfaces as their "bigger" (but far less profitable for Intel) Itanium siblings, one in vaguely the same class as Alpha's EV7 interconnect (now more widely known as AMD Hypertransport?), that's one less USP for IA64.
So then who's going to want to buy (or even build) IA64 systems? Presumably the only customers interested will be those unfortunate ones whose vendors have locked them in to IA64-specific software, as all the rest will have the choice of x86/AMD64 instead. x86/AMD64 customers will be offered similar CSI-based hardware, but will likely pay much lower hardware prices than the Itanic addicts, and the x86/AMD64 market will still offer a far greater range of software than the unfortunate locked-in HP-UX and OpenVMS customers can choose from.
Having a common system bus *might* simplify life for the low-volume hardware assembler, but Itanic can't/won't sell in the serious volume market, and in the low-volume "niche" market (SGI?) the common system interconnect doesn't change the economics all that much.
If an Itanic Proliant emerges (again), I'll believe the tide has turned. I'll also eat my hat, especially if Proliant Itanic emerges and sells to worthwhile numbers of paying customers (rather than a handful of Intel-funded seed sites).