Yesterday it was discovered that Microsoft purchased the domain socl.com and the rumors and speculation have been spreading fast. Some blogs are saying that it is Microsoft's attempt at creating their own social network to compete with Facebook and Google+. That is highly unlikely.
I am sure Microsoft is downplaying their plans a bit, but I don't think this is intended to compete with Google+ or Facebook. If you are building your own new social network you would not be able to login with another network's credentials. It almost seems to be a sharing and networking tool. Maybe Q&A and/or a marketplace.
Keep an eye on Florian Rohrweck's blog as he does excellent research and has started looking into this.
Does the SOCL Project from TNTLab have anything to do with it? Is the name of it really OPEN (as seen top right on screenshot) and Tulalip is one part of it? Maybe they will change their name to MicroSocl or MicroSocial in the future. We may never know the intentions of Microsoft Research until they, if ever, officially release it or give more information.