Did Microsoft Steal Plurk Code In China?

**Update : Microsoft has now blocked access to its MSN China Microblogging website after the allegations were made by Plurk **

Microsoft, the biggest software company in the world, has been accused by Plurk, a micro-blogging service based in Asia, of ripping off the sites design, user interface and code for it’s recently launched MSN Juku which is developed by MSN China.

Ever since MSN Juku, which is looked upon as a ‘twitter style’ micro-blogging service, made its debut in China earlier this month, observers have not failed to repeatedly point out the similarities between MSN Juku and Plurk in terms of look and feel.

However, Microsoft describes Juku, which allows users to post messages up to 140 characters, as an innovative service developed by MSN China and is based on Windows Live Messenger network.

Plurk, the micro-blogging service launched in May 2008, has now openly accused the software giant of copying almost 80 percent of its original code and several elements of their CSS and unique user interface features.

In a blog post, Plurk representatives wrote that “We were first tipped off by high profile bloggers and Taiwanese users of our community that Microsoft had just launched a new Chinese micro-blogging service that looked eerily similar to Plurk.”

The blog post goes on to display snapshots that clearly depict the shockingly similar user interface of MSN Juku and Plurk.

To further prove its point, Plurk has posted snapshots of codebase and data structure of both the services that clearly point towards the fact that Microsoft ‘knocked-off’ some of Plucks key features.

Our Comments

Interestingly, Plurk, which is banned from China due to political reasons, is the king of the micro-blogging market in Taiwan. Apart from being popular in Indonesia and Singapore, Plurk offers its services in 33 languages.

Related Links

Microsoft China accused of pilfering webcode

(The Register)

Microsoft accused of stealing code

(Financial Times)

Twitter rival Plurk claims UI, code ripped off by Microsoft China

(Computer World)

Microsoft pulls China blog site amid code-theft charges