Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Microsoft's Juku Plurk'd in China

Reuters reports that Microsoft has taken down its MSN Juku site after complaints from Plurk that about 80 percent of the client and product codebase for Microsoft's Juku appears to be a copy of its own service. [See Microsoft suspends Juku after plagiarism claims ]

David Gelles of Financial Times wrote:

From the graphics to the navigation, MSN Juku appears nearly identical to Plurk, which launched last year. "We were absolutely shocked and outraged when we first saw . . . the cosmetic similarities Microsoft's new offering had with Plurk," the company said. Plurk posted screenshots of what it says are its code and MSN Juku's code, which contain many near identical lines.

Gelles added a dimension to the story:

Plurk is one of a handful of micro-blogging sites that is blocked by Chinese authorities. Juku has not yet been blocked.

PCMag included text from Plurk indicating the irony of the situation:

"We're still in shock asking why Microsoft would even stoop to this level of wilfully plagiarising a young and innovative upstart's work rather than reach out to us or innovate on their own terms," the company said in its post. "Of course, it just hits that much closer to home when all your years of hard work and effort to create something unique are stolen so brazenly. All the more ironic considering Microsoft has often been leading the charge on fighting for stronger IP laws and combating software piracy in China."

IPBiz notes that Microsoft has been pushing for weaker IP laws as to damages, and has itself presented a few questionable patent applications. The Coalition for Patent Fairness is generally believed to advocate weaker IP laws.

See also InformationWeek Microsoft Launches, Pulls, Twitter-Style Microblog

**On IP news aggregation


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