That effort, TypeScript, which was codenamed "Strada" (see more on the codename below), is available in preview form on Microsoft's CodePlex site. The open-source TypeScript compiler and the spec are there, as is a plug-in for Visual Studio.
As interesting -- and controversial, if you check commentsaround the Web -- as TypeScript is, the back story is equally intriguing.
Yet another notable on the TypeScript team is someone Microsoft officials haven't mentioned in a while. Erich Gamma, a high-profile hire from IBM who joined Microsoft in 2011. Gamma is a Distinguished Engineer in Microsoft Zurich. He used to be the technical lead of IBM's Rational Collaborative Application Life Cycle management work and also the former technical lead of Rational Team Concert. Additionally, he was the original lead of the Eclipse Java development environment and one of the leaders of the Eclipse Project.