Intel and ARM are already clashing as traditional processor architectures are moving into new market segments.
There is some buzz about ARM-based servers and it appears that this market is attractive enough for Intel to compete here as well. The company said that it will be releasing Atom-based processors that will target the microserver segment by 2012.
Details are scarce: The only slice of information Intel released so far is that the CPUs will consume less than 10 watts. The company downplays the opportunity and said that the microserver market will account for less than 10% of the overall server market. Is Intel simply defending its turf with a new product? Possibly. Even 10% of the server market are hundreds of millions of dollars. And let's not forget that Intel's business model is based on the idea to sell more chips every year. Atom processors fit this model very well, especially since the profit margins are very high.
An advantage of the Intel architecture may be the ability to combine Atom processors with other low-power Xeon processors. Intel said that microservers will target light processing requirements in ultra-dense server environments.