It was an interesting read to learn how the ATLAS project, that the ASP.NET team is working on, originates in part at MSN. As you can read on Scott Guthrie's blog ATLAS is a new framework for developing AJAX style web applications using ASP.NET.
Trying to build a complex AJAX website with traditional Visual Studio.NET development tools is quite painful which is why the various teams at MSN have collaborated and built a unified framework. As Omar points out, one of the good things that has come out of this is that the various MSN folks went to the Microsoft developer division and pointed out they are missing the boat key infrastructure needed for AJAX development. This feedback was one of the factors that resulted in the recently announced Atlas project.
If you're going to be at the Microsoft Professional Developer's Conference (PDC) and are interested in professional AJAX development you should definitely make your way to the various presentations by the MSN folks.
My PDC schedule is already heavily overbooked due to the incredible abundance of interesting sessions. I'll try to stick in one or two of these sessions since I have a love for AJAX since long before it was called that way. Let me copy in a comment I made in Dennis' blog back in the days when I did not have my own blog yet:
AJAX = Old technology 😉 At the bank I work for we have used a similar approach since 2000. We call our framework R***SCO. SCO stands for Server Communication Objects and R*** stands for part of the name of the Dutch bank that is to remain anonymous. Hard guess, hey?