Well Autodesk has only owned MAYA for 3 years I think, around that time. so it has been a recent acquisition.
Their has been rumors of combining the two, or just them phasing out one and lots of other stuff.
I think if they combine the two completely, and just leave it up to the user to select which panels and gui they want to use would be the best route. but what do I know right, I only use them both :P
and I have heard that MAYA is better for character animation and such, and I do feel so on some aspects but MAX, just feels right for me, so yeah :P