There is a lot of supposition going on here. I can help a little on the Power 7 stuff:
- IBM had advised that Power 7 servers were a March intro for several months. Moving the announcement up to February is a surprise.
- The allegation the IBM will bring out small machines with defective cores FIRST does not match with IBM open announcements. IBM set expectations that mid-high servers would come earliest.
- IBM's 4 GHz RISC core will well-outperform INTC's 2 GHz RISC core. Since IBM packs 8 on a chip, it would be reasonable to expect that 8 *4GHz is four times the throughput of 2*2GHz from an Itanium chip. We will see.
- IBM is announcing SYSTEMS and INTC is announcing CHIPs. There isn't much doubt about that. Itanium built-out Systems should be announced quickly after INTC's announcement, though.
- 32nm or 25nm Itaniums have not yet been announced by INTC. There are IBM and INTC announcements for 32nm chips. INTC will be first (6-15 months). IBM will be later (24-36 months). This is only relevant if it affects high-core offerings or high-GHz offerings that deliver important performance advantages.
- Itanium hardware virtualization hasn't appreciably improved in over six years. There needs to be INTC guidance for that. IBM and INTC 32-bit hardware virtualization has increased significantly/dramatically in the past five years.
- Oracle matters. We will have to see what they do. They are 'playing defence' with all the Sun stuff that they bought, though.
- Even Itanium fans are on edge with this delayed intro. Itanium needs a smooth launch to have any chance at a further 5 year's existence in the CPU-wars.