You might have visited these already, but it's interesting to see MS diversify a bit from the standard MSDN template. For example, if you look for SQL Server samples on MSDN you get a page that forwards you to http://codeplex.com/SqlServerSamples. CodePlex is seemingly about code but it is listed as the MS 'open source' site. Is it just me or does the link between open source and SQL Server samples seem tenuous? There are a few interesting projects out there, some sponsored by MS and some not.
Along the same lines they have CodeZone, which is also about code but also includes user group support. The latter is interesting because it removes one hurdle to launching a user group - though to me the least interesting hurdle. Anyone interested in a technical user group has someone with enough ability to build/find some type of group web site, the hard part is getting people to come to the meetings. Nothing wrong with a code centric site, or helping out user groups, but I think - and am often wrong - that its a little confusing about when to go where.
And then there is http://connect.microsoft.com/intro.aspx, which I think replaces betaplace and puts all their CTP's in one place. This one seems the most useful to me and the easist to understand the mission.
I'm not privy to their strategy (but MS, feel free to call me if you want), but it seems like MSDN stays the knowledgebase and "official" MS site for developers, but CodeZone & CodePlex are designed to appeal to the developer who uses MS tools but wants something that feels cooler, less corporate. Connect is just a nice bundling and should have been done sooner!