If I didn't have to man El Reg's systems desk for a paycheck and had a little venture capital to blow, I might start a company called Leg Systems, headquartered on the Isle of Man– not because of its tax haven status (which is eroding), but because my company would sell ARM-based systems and say that we wouldn't charge an arm and a leg for them.
Let's be honest, that's probably not much less of a business plan than other startups have used to get venture cash.
ARM Holdings, the design and licensing company behind the ARM processor architecture, unmasked its 64-bit Cortex A50 processor designs in October 2012, and AMD, Samsung Electronics, and Cavium have licensed those designs. AMD and Cavium have admitted that they will be using these ARMv8 architecture chips in servers, and Samsung is widely believed to be working on server parts as well, but has not confirmed its plans. Marvell has aspirations in the ARM server space, too, and has Dell building experimental boxes using its ARM designs and related networking chips.
The battle pitting ARM chips against X86 processors in the data center – mostly Intel Xeons and now Atoms – is not just about low-energy processing, but also about virtualization, networking, and a more integrated data-center design.