Certainly very interesting times. Just imagine the inquiry inside Intel should ARM succeed in snatching a large and damaging market share; just how did a pokey little design house from somewhere flat, cold and wet without even a small fab to their name manage to out maneouvre the mighty Intel? I would be very interested to know if ARM's design team staff count is larger or smaller than Intel's.
If this does indeed come to pass, ARM will definitely have been a 'slow burner'. It's taken 20ish years to get this far, not exactly the fastest growth curve we've ever seen.
X86 has had a very impressively long run so far but the fantastic growth of mobile and datacentre applications has really underlined the penalties of the x86 architecture; power consumption. Intel are trying to keep up with clever silicon manufacturing processes, but you can't escape the fact that an ARM chip implemented on the same processes is smaller, cheaper and lower power. They once had an ARM license (StrongARM / Xscale) but disposed of it and haven't managed to compete since. Big mistake?
Intel could win if they bought ARM and wiped them out or renamed the ARM instruction set as x86-lite. I'm amazed that they haven't tried to do so as yet. It would raise the mother of all Competition Commission / SEC antitrust inquiries, and I don't think that Intel would win that one.