Microsoft coughs to Plurk theft

Microsoft coughs to Plurk theft

Microsoft has admitted that large sections of microblogging site Plurk's code and design were ripped off by a contracted third party.

Microsoft has found itself under fire after it transpired a new social networking service it launched in China had copied design and code from a Canadian microblogging service.

As reported over on Digital Trends, Microsoft has confessed that its MSN China-based Juku service stole both layout and code from Canadian startup Plurk to use in its newly-launched platform.

The code reuse was immediately obvious to anyone familiar with the platform, with Plurk pointing towards blatant theft of everything from the general layout of the site - including Plurk's pretty unique side-scrolling timeline - to large chunks of JavaScript code that had somehow found their way into Microsoft's site.

While Microsoft has admitted that the service ripped Plurk off - and has suspended Juku indefinitely until it can be re-written from the ground up - it blames a third-party vendor contracted to create the platform on Microsoft's behalf.

If this excuse seems familiar, it's because this is far from the first time a lazy third-party contractor has landed Microsoft in hot water: just last month the company was forced to re-write a Windows 7 download utility after it was found to have stolen GPL-licensed code from the open-source ImageMaster project, for which it blamed another un-named "third party."

For its part, Microsoft is contrite over the mess up - stating to be "disappointed" in having to remove the Juku service so soon after launch but apologising to Plurk and offering to "[reach] out to them directly to explain what happened and the steps we have taken to resolve the situation."

Are you amazed that so blatant a theft could go unnoticed until launch, or do you think this could be the best thing that has ever happened to Plurk - increasing its visibility in Western markets massively? Share your thoughts over in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
impar 17th December 2009, 10:35 Quote

Those disingenious third parties...
Silver51 17th December 2009, 10:40 Quote
The coffee hasn't kicked in. I read that as Microsoft stealing the Phunk.
proxess 17th December 2009, 10:45 Quote
Noo! Not the phunk!

Shame on you M$. Here I was thinking you were becoming less... M$-ish, and now this. Really tho, use your own developers.
MaverickWill 17th December 2009, 13:14 Quote
Originally Posted by Silver51
The coffee hasn't kicked in. I read that as Microsoft stealing the Phunk.

So who stole the Noize, then?
proxymoron 17th December 2009, 14:42 Quote
Given that Plurk is very much a, ahem, homage to Twitter, it's a delicious slice of irony.
Silver51 17th December 2009, 16:56 Quote
Originally Posted by MaverickWill
So who stole the Noize, then?

You can steal the Noize but you can't fight the Phunk!
kosch 17th December 2009, 17:58 Quote
I read that as them also trying to steal the funk and then I thought of the boosh.
LucusLoC 17th December 2009, 19:15 Quote
MS is not the only on to have problems with this if i remember correctly. i only wonder if this is from "off shore" contractors (like China or India), which is my suspicion. it is my experience that contractors and manufactures from certain countries play a very elaborate shell game (remember the cisco manufacturing sub contractor that "accidentally" made a whole bunch of "extra" routers out of inferior parts and passed them off as the genuine article?). i would not be surprised i the first contractor is actually related to the second in this MS case.

of course i am not trying to absolve MS, they should have vetted the code more thoroughly, or hired someone they could trust. i also think it is silly of them to hide who did it (i want to know so i can avoid them). their silence makes me think even more that it was a contractor from china, as companies here in the U.S. usually bend over backwards to say that it it not the fault of the contractor when it clearly is (remember the Matel toy incident? and the dogfood incident? yeah. . . .)

also don't think i am bashing on china (well, i kinda am), companies in the west do stupid things all the time, but they are usually severely upbraided about it and suffer a big hit to reputation. but it seems to me that somehow western companies got the idea that it is not politically correct to blame Chinese contractors. . . which is why MS silence in the matter seems suspicious to me.

anyhoo, MS: tell us who did it and wipe some of the crap off your name.
Timmytomas 17th December 2009, 19:48 Quote
Shame shame shame on Micro!!!
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