I am really surprised that some see this as a desperate move. I think the opposite, that Microsoft is proving to be the big company that could. The one that can find a solution for the scalability problem that delivering a new version of Windows is, and at the same time is agile enough to own Start.com and Live.com (by the way, I like this domain very much, I hope the will keep it).
Only time will tell.
On the specific details, I hope the Favorites feature will someday sport some of the features I described in this old post: My favorites: A killer application for WinFS?
By the way, I noticed in my referrals that the other day someone from Microsoft Research was reading that article. Whoever it was, I hope he/she found it somewhat interesting. Specially if it was Susan Dumais.
PS: And Susan, thanks for your email regarding Stuff I have Seen availability.