This comparison has nothing to do with search results, but with the design of the site. The test was done in Firefox 1.0 on OS X, but the results are similar in any browser. Click to enlarge the image.
There are 193 pixels of ads and extraneous information before you get to what you’re looking for (search results) on MSN Search. MSN forces you to spend extra time either scrolling or filtering out garbage in an effort to display ads above search results. What Microsoft fails to see is that while they’re trying increase the chances of you clicking an ad to pay their bills, putting the ads where they get in the way of your goal only drives your business away from the site altogether, reducing the chances of you clicking the ads down to zero. Granted, Google sometimes places ads above search results as well, but their ads take up much less space and they don’t show up on every single search result.
The way Google separates the URL line from the results is much better than what MSN does. Google has a normal line break, then 21 pixels from one entry to the next. MSN has 12 pixels after the description then another 17 pixels after the URL line. This makes it significantly more difficult to quickly separate results. While MSN has a total of 29 pixels between results (5 pixels more than Google) , the whitespace on MSN is much more jagged and search results seem to jumble together at a quick glance.