The only thing standing between them and mobile market dominance is Google and Apple.
I failed to expand on this in my first post, I should have compared it to the late arrival of "Internet Explorer" into the market - (now updated).
I think that this is MS attempting to play catch-up in a big way, and much earlier than with IE and the "browser wars", so they must have learned something from the past - this is certainly not a short-term battle, this is a long term war and MS has (will) make a very big dent with Windows 8 and the deal with Nokia. Also note that MS has already said that they will make a version of Windows 8 that runs on ARM chips (very common in smart phones), it all adds up now - a very clever and broad-ranging strategy from MS.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes Microsoft to find out that installing or upgrading Skype includes an offer to install the Google toolbar.
That would be hilarious to see
but as we all know from using free software, their "free included software" changes quite often depending on internal deals and hard ca$h I only have to mention included "web browsers" and "antivirus software"
As to the future, what I think is more likely is that free Skype for all will not last. Skype reportedly lost 70 million USD last year and I don't see Microsoft tolerating that.
I cant see MS "selling" the software, or even "selling" the currently free service that they offer, rather MS would loose that tiny sum of money to hurt their competitors - it wouldnt be the first time they have run a "loss-leader".
Given this scenario I would expect to see something like a free Skype basic, and a paid for Skype Premium or some such arrangement in future.
I think that is likely, but slightly more discretely done as they will soon be covering Mobiles, Tablets, Laptops and Desktops, I think that it is likeley that they will make "custom versions" rather than "cut down versions", after all it doesnt just sound better is actually makes some sense on small low-resolution screens without any spare pixels.
After all, the alternative to Skype is what?
Which is why I think that this is a strategy by MS and not just a bungling effort of some kind, and they are strating with a form of attack, which as some say is better than defence.