Microsoft is apparently moving forward as fast as it can with the integrated "next gen" tools like Expression Blend that are XAML - compliant.
XAML has a lot of promise, expecially because of it's high level of adaptability to animation, Windows Forms - like controls, play stuff in the browser, and so on.
I do a lot of work with Maya on the side. Mostly, I take my digital photographic work and do "digital photo collage" by overlaying photos as the material attributes of various shapes, often 3D replicated with MEL scripting, setting raytracing, refraction, reflection, lighting and other features then doing a master render to a large TIFF file (sometimes 65MB). I have a friend who runs a studio here in Deland, FL and he has an expensive giclée printer, so he can put these out on large - format prints on expensive paper for me (that is, the "good ones", 'cause this can cost $100 a print -- here is a link to a small size one ).
At any rate, Thomas Goddard came out with a Maya 8 - compatible XAML export plug-in. I converted my nurbs objects to polygons, and exported the view to XAML. Then I loaded the XAML document into Expression Blend. Surprise! In design view, it rendered very realistically. But - uh-oh -- when I tried to compile it, it blows up with "Out of Memory" errors. Too bad, guess it needs more work! Has promise, though, I'll say that.