I think Google's success has caused several minds at MS to snap. Lately, Microsoft shills have been going out of their way to attack Google in particular: According to Steve Ballmer, doubling your employee count is 'insane', and Google has no sources of revenue outside of search and advertising. Thus, by extension, all their other efforts are doomed to fail.
Last night I went to one of the Killam Trusts lectures at the Rowe building on Dal campus. Daniel M. Russell of Google was presenting on the topic 'Divining user intent'.
While there was nothing revolutionary to me in the presentation, it did give me some interesting insights into the importance of 'meaning' when searching. The focus on comfort level seems almost obsessive, but I can't deny that it's important, and probably is crucial to Google's business model.