Microsoft Joint Venture in China Plagiarizes Competitor [windowsitpro.com]
Microsoft this week found itself in another intellectual property theft snafu after a Chinese joint venture with MSN branding was found to have plagiarized the design and underlying code of another social network service called Plurk. MSN Juku, a recently-launched Chinese social networking service that is based on MSN Messenger, is a joint venture between MSN China and an independent third-party company.
When the service launched earlier this month, however, Microsoft described MSN Juku as "a local innovation developed by MSN China," and not a microblogging service like Twitter. But MSN Juku is clearly a Twitter clone, allowing people to publish 140 character posts, just like Twitter. And it wasn't developed by MSN China, but was instead farmed out to a third party.
The service's similarities to Twitter are not at issue, however. Instead, a separate social networking service, Plurk, says that MSN Juku is a direct "rip off" of its own service. "Blatant theft of code, design, and UI elements is just not cool, especially when the infringing party is the biggest software company in the world," a public statement from Plurk reads. "Some 80 percent of the client and product codebase appears to be stolen directly from Plurk [and] the service's design and UI is by and large an EXACT copy of Plurk's innovative left-right timeline scrolling navigation system."