Big v Little
Lets face it Intel is to all intents and purposes a monopoly when it comes to chips, if you want to beat them, then you have to beat them on price and innovation. In the full knowledge that they have the research muscle to close any gap you open up within months and the financial muscle to undercut and out market you. IBM Power looks secure, but you have to wonder how long for, and how long for the Sparc CPU ranges as economic products, before they join the Itanium, transputer, microVAX and others, if I were a betting man, I'd say SPARC will go first. Mind you, the Zilog Z80 is still out there in the embedded market.
I doubt AMD will ever be able to fund their market share in the way Intel can. The light for AMD is that, should they fail, Intel would have a big problem with the competition authorities, not just in x86 but the whole market. So I'd expect Intel to "Invest" in AMD if things get really bad, just as Microsoft did with Sun and Apple.
We should not forget though that we build Intel and Microsoft in the 80s & 90s, sacrificing the others on the alter of low cost and standardisation, which was then a belief rather than a reality. If we want other companies products to do better, then we need to buy them, but with some, it's just so hard to justify the cost, Larry.