Tuesday, December 15, 2009

MSFT China "Stealing" Code?

Screenshot of the Plurk that went out to all users of this incident.

The Plurk blog has been updated with a post claiming that Microsoft China's recently released blogging service, similar to Plurk, has been built largely upon code that Plurk uses.

Here’s the short of what we think has happened:

  • Microsoft China officially launched its own microblogging service, MSN Juku/Hompy/Mclub, some time in November, 2009.
  • The service’s design and UI is by and large an EXACT copy of Plurk’s innovative left-right timeline scrolling navigation system. (see screen captures below)
  • Some 80% of the client and product codebase appears to be stolen directly from Plurk! (see evidence below).
  • Plurk was never approached nor collaborated in any capacity with MS on this service.
  • As a young startup, we’re stunned, shocked, and unsure what to do next and need your support and suggestions.
Not sure what Microsoft is doing over there, as the post mentions how Microsoft has tried to combat piracy in China by lowering the prices of the OS to ridiculously low prices ($30USD). But this is quite astonishing. I would expect something like this from a company coming out of China, but Microsoft? Perhaps it was a local engineer who made the decision to go ahead with "borrowing" code from Plurk.

In any case, they are asking Plurk users to make this known so that they can seek a solution to this.
To our millions of loyal users: We also need your sincere help. We need your loud and emphatic voices. We need you to help us get out this important story to anyone and everyone you know who can raise awareness on what has taken place. Please translate this story into your respective languages, share it with local media, bloggers and friends, and help us fight the good fight for your beloved Plurk.
Update: It appears that Microsoft has confessed that their service, Microsoft Juku did indeed take code directly from Plurk. But, their Juku was developed under a third-party vendor. You can likely guess where that vendor is from- China, just as I said would be something to be expected of companies in China.

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