Microsoft has finally given the MSN homepage a cosmetic enhancement, this time complying with web standards. A lot of XHTML validation done here. Whats significant is that they have adopted CSS based table-less layouts and thats definitely a major improvement. However, the overall layout is still disappointing. One, the whole page looks a little cluttered (in Firefox atleast) giving a sense of unprofessionalism for a high profile site like MSN. And two, there is way too much similarity with Yahoo's search bar (pointy tabs).
However, this is not to say that MSN cant compete with the others in this domain. With a little more time spent on improving the interface and optimizing search algorithms, MSN can give Google (or Yahoo for that matter) a run for their money!
Update [Feb 8th, 2005] - MSN Arabia looks a lot better!