Even though the market is very well served today, Intel has a lot of muscle. I expect that they can take a big portion of the market, but they may not be the best fit for the job. We will watch as the market changes.
The natural conclusion is that Intel will reduce its profit margins considerably to be able to compete. If that trend continues, earnings per share will go down and shareholders will start to question the current strategy. I personally do not think this is sustainable.
The competition will come down to cost-performance ratio. Cost will cover daily operational cost. It means power consumption of the server (not just the CPU). Performance will include not only MIPS but also how many VMs and services can be run on a single server.
Is there a comparison study of x86 vs ARM? Ideally, a benchmark study.
There's no question Intel is sdoing everything it can to get into this market as aggressively as possible. I am not sure they will be limited to an eight-core offering though. It seems to me that their product lineup will span as far and wide as they can possibly get it to. They won't be giving up their edge in traditional x86 platforms anytime soon either.
Perhaps Intel did define the term microserver, but not the drivers behind it and it's natural existence today. Just look at current cost and power requirements in server infrastructure, the shrinking bang for the buck being realized by purchasing the latest, highest-power server processors for current workloads, and the increasing availability of SOC-based processors with enhanced IO and various heterogeneous compute engines. Intelligent scaling is sorely needed that makes use of these growing and different features, not just brute force as has been the mantra in the past.