In a blog post that initially got rumors swirling, the Taiwan microblogging site Plurk, a startup,alleged that it was "ripped off" by Microsoft, whose own microblogging site Juku looked "eerily similar" to Plurk's.Plurk is quite popular in Taiwan; I'm on it but I don't use it. It's amazing that the Chinese vendor didn't think anyone would notice. D'oh! Just like my students who copy from Wikipedia....
Microsoft suspended MSN Juku to investigate the plagiarism allegations, and subsequently released a statement announcing that the Chinese vendor Microsoft hired to create MSN Juku had indeed used stolen code to build the site.
The statement from Microsoft reads:
REDMOND, Wash. - Dec. 15, 2009 - On Monday, December 14, questions arose over a beta application called Juku developed by a Chinese vendor for our MSN China joint venture. We immediately worked with our MSN China joint venture to investigate the situation.
The vendor has now acknowledged that a portion of the code they provided was indeed copied. This was in clear violation of the vendor's contract with the MSN China joint venture, and equally inconsistent with Microsoft's policies respecting intellectual property.
In a blog post on their site, Plurk offered these details on what they believe took place:
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.
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