ARM was no option because it was mainly headless, nowhere to buy or only super low profile overpriced boards with no real storage. VIA had everything in that position, including a media chipset to take over graphic stuff if the CPU was not fast enough for e.g. MPEG2 decoding.
But now intel has established Atom there, AMD is coming with Bobcats and all the ARM people are coming to the home market in various forms. VIA could have built a fan community with a good fellowship of users for their stuff til now.
But betray your friends once too often and they go.
And, yes, angry users (and it is not only the Linux users) ARE going to hurt on the long term.