It isn't just MS though
You can pick pretty much any vendor and they will shift the goalposts over what constitutes a "current" certification.
After all, if they don't do this then no one ever has to refresh and they lose revenue.
And I've said it before but it's always the same process: partner/reseller really do not care. Gold/Platium/Whatever level of partnership renewal is looming and Vendor X now says "but you need Y number of people 'qualified' to Z level" and there's a sudden rush to find people who they think can and will pass quickly to meet this artificial criteria.
Rinse and repeat next time.
I cannot remember the last time, beyond relatively entry-level roles, where there was a genuine insistence on a candidate holding a specific vendor certification.
They are and always have been a way to increase revenue. They never have tested an individual's real world knowledge.
And it is even worse nowadays because there is so much out there. Nowhere of any real large (enterprise) scale is purely MS this, or Linux that, really - I guess there will be outliers somewhere but they will be the exception not the rule - so this whole blinkered "using only our technology to perform this function is just short-sighted, false, bollocks and MS are probably one of the worst at it.
I've personally found it far easier and more efficient to keep my skills up to date by having my own lab to include things like my own Azure tenant and I am sure most people find the same is true of e.g. AWS etc.
And I admit it's been a long time since I sat an MS exam (MCSE + Messaging!) but back then it was almost trivial. Four possible answers: Two are clearly wrong. One is possible. One mentions the latest and greatest idea/concept from MS... pick that one.