The ARM site lists 49 Mobile SOC IP vendors, that would be too many by how much in your opinion?
That's the ARM way, lots of vendors, competing often by carving out a unique niche in the ecosystem.
I guess maybe twice to three times, 16-32 ARM server vendors is possible. Think of the different things servers may do. The silicon needed for a render farm is different to a mass video encoding (YouTube) . Different again to a highly transactional database (banking), again to Data Wharehouse analytics. All with different compute, data latency, data throughput requirements.
Efficiency through specialisation.
What exactly is an ARM server chip? ARMv8 with 10G networking? Seems like a good combo for embedded networking applications also. Seems to me the best approach is still to provide a selection of generic, expandable interfaces, and most roadmaps I've seen (and I've seen quite a few) the chips will offer PCIe, USB3, SATA and 1G in addition to 10G or more.
I think you may be right as far as the number of vendors who end up inside the bulk of server shipments, but again, what exactly is an ARM server chip anyway?
Sure, as that's true of any industry. The "problem" is we don't know which it will be, and they'll have to battle it out. I don't really see Qualcomm as a server company, though. I don't think they have their hearts in it. Nvidia, Applied Micro and either Calxeda or AMD will be the third.
But again, it's very premature to call it out now. We still have at least 5 major players (Samsung, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Mediatek and Apple) in the mobile chip market, and it's a much more mature market than the ARM server market, so we're a long way until we know for sure.