They didn't make it pretty. They made it work. From what I could get from the demo this moring of Microsoft Reporting Services, Microsoft has a very big hit on its hands. Sell your shares of Crystal right now.
There are a lot of interesting things to know about MSRS. The most important thing to know is that they did a very good job of putting some hot functionality into it so that it's not a joke product. Coming out of the gate, MSRS is capable of handling a good 75% of enterprise reporting requirements. They didn't show much on the security part of this so I might hedge on that a bit, other than that it appears to be a very competent product.
Licensing is 'free'. Basically it rides on top of your SQL Server license, and I'm not sure how they enforce that in code, but there is basically no barriers to entry with regard to getting started. This means a lot of companies are going to start hedging their bets on purchasing products from the competition until their SQL jockeys get their hands on it. And guess what, SQL jockeys are just the intended audience.
Although this has a translation doohickey from Access Reports, there is gobs of lovely SQL behind this piece of work. That means SQL jockeys and hacks will intuitively understand it and crank out many many briefing books and satisfy a lot of needs in short order. That language called SQR just became a useless skill.
It's difficult for me to understand the MS upgrade path with regard to their licensing, so I'm not in a position to determine if it has a reasonable chance of upstaging current implementations of BO, Cognos, Crystal, and Brio. After all, most enterprise reporting projects don't originate from SQL Server. So somebody's going to have to pay to transfer Oracle seat money to grow up the piddly SQL Servers all over the place MS is betting will come into use. But since the learning curve seems deceptively shallow for MSRS, a lot of apps developers may very well jump ship.
The wizards look fairly nice. After all, page layout is generally a no-brainer it's made just for wizards. There are very handy table, list and text objects to drag and drop around the design tool which allows you to preview your reports in realtime. Data is provided through XML / SOAP from .NET so as a data source you navigate to an http url on a local or remote server. It paints everything rather quickly and it isn't very difficult to see how you flip back and forth between the design screen and a QBE thingy very much like the one in Access to select your data. So I gather that this will allow a reasonable individual to develop reports rather quickly and efficiently. (You can use stored procedures too).
The Reporting Stack has 4 services that sit on top of SQL Server only Repository. Rendering, Security, Data Processing, & Delivery. By sitting on top of SQL Server, it's going to have a very strong management layer built in. From what I can tell, you can manage Dev, QA and Production servers from one console and do migrations back and forth automatically.