Microsoft is bypassing their own HOSTS file and instead going to a hardcoded IP that is located in a binary DLL. This is not how the Windows DNS client (or should I say BSD?) should work and is undocumented. Microsoft gives themselves a leg up. I understand that this is for security updates and such because it is nothing to rewrite the HOSTS file. Still, it should be documented.
2014 is going to be a good year. More content, more streamlining. Be a part of history!