Can it be that after decades of failure to kill x86, Intel management have become blind to its problems?
Intel's engineers tried for years to shake off the ghastly x86 architecture (producing iAPX432, i960, Xscale, iTanium), while customes avoided x86 whenever they had a choice, in comms hardware, workstations, servers, games consoles and of course Macs. But the Microsoft monopoly, and Intel's superior fab processes repeatedly saved x86 from the knacker.
Multicore ARM with dedicated media processing add-on has advantages that surely trump Intel's Atom and successors. The whittling away of the Windows monopoly seems to leave as Intel's only advantage: more and better fabs than anyone else. x86 may go nowhere in handhelds, and only serve to accelerate the shriveling of the Wintel CPU cash cow, starting with netbooks stealing from the mainstream Windows CPU business.
When Microsoft switched Xbox from Xbox to PowerPC, they didn't think many moves ahead. IBM no longer could be bothered with Apple's PowerPC volumes for Mac, so one might expect up-and-coming Apple's Mac to fade from the scene. But with IBM not delivering PowerPC, and Intel out of the console market, it was a no brainer for Apple to step in and become Intel's premium customer (OS X had been running on x86 long before PowerPC). Instead of marginalising Apple, MS gave Apple parity, able to build as many Macs as they want from the same parts supply that feeds MS's OEM partners, as cheaply as them. No supply problems, no cost problems, no performance problems any more. What a blunder by MS.
Or have I got it all wrong?