I would strongly disagree with this, or the first part of it anyway. As a disclaimer, I like MSN search. I dont particularly care for MS.
MSN in general does not get overwhelming traffic from say, Mac users, who find it to be the most useful portal out there. Rather MSN and MSN search find themselves in the unique position of being integrated into a leading operating system, one that something like 90% of people use. MSN search still only manages to wrangle a very small number of internet searches (off the top of my head something like 20%).
Lets face it, if the users havent abandoned MSN search already, they are certainly not holding on for quality reasons, they are specifically using MSN because (A) it is good enough, (B) they know no alternatives, or (C) they are lacking the computer proficieny which is prerequisite to changing the homepage.
If I had to guess I would not think that quality assurance will be a foremost consideration when designing MSN search nor will it be paramount to a launch date.