Recently, Microsoft is quite open about the future of VC++, unlike the years before, and things are looking good actually. Herb Sutter is busy working on Concur (see Concur & C++ Presentation at Google Video). Nice to see a real guru like him working on concurrency stuff, cause he might have a chance to get it working and used (after all, he is the chairman of the ISO C++ committee and the VC++ lead). The VC++ compiler is getting a new frontend. This also includes a new code model which, for the first time, allows access to the compiler's AST. While it might sound like a normal thing these days, the AST wasn't available earlier because the compiler is partly 20 years old:
"In the days of the 256K limit, a large, in-memory structure such as a whole-program AST was not feasible"
Note this is all post-Orcas, so we're talking about Visual Studio 201x here. They're also working on the native code side (even the vice president understood now that native code isn't going anywhere), including stuff from C++ 0x. Interesting stuff going on for sure, after they have fallen behind with the compiler quite a bit compared to the latest Intel C++ or Sun Studio.