Microsoft admits to code theft, pulls microblog service

By on December 16, 2009, 9:00 AM
For the second time in little over a month Microsoft has been accused of stealing code -- and once again the company has admitted to it. This time it doesn't involve using open source code and publishing as its own, but rather a blatant theft to a rival service. Canadian microblogging startup Plurk, which has gotten quite popular in Asian countries, uncovered the news earlier this week when it accused Microsoft China ripping off its code and interface design to build a new MSN social-networking feature by the name of Juku.

Given the obvious similarities Microsoft quickly pulled the service to start an investigation, and less than 24 hours later revealed that a third-party vendor working with Microsoft's MSN China joint venture acknowledged a portion of the code that it provided was indeed copied.

Microsoft was apologetic in its note, saying it was never their intent to steal the work that others in the industry have done, but that may not be enough to get them out of the woods. According to Plurk, a lawsuit is one of many options they have and are still considering.

Ironically the company has been working hard in China over the years to try to prevent the piracy of its own software. The company is suspending access to Juku indefinitely and says it will be working with MSN China to examine development practices and applications provided by vendors.




User Comments: 6

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compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

At least they quickly responded to this claim. If indeed a third party was responsible for the code copying i am not sure how Plurk could get punitive damages against Microsoft. They might still be able to get an award for any benefit Microsoft has gained through using the code though.

Puiu Puiu said:

It's not like microsoft cares. They might have even known about it.

"Oh! I didn't know. I'm sorry! Can you forgive me?" - simple and effective

Guest said:

Sadly, this is typical Chinese unscrupulous business practice that we see surface again and again in virtually every industry. It makes one wonder if corruption and deception are 'virtues' in China. I wish I could say that I was just being a bigot but, unfortunately, the examples are everywhere.

Until China figures out how to integrate integrity and compassion into their culture, I will make great effort avoid buying Chinese anything as much as possible.

Guest said:

Sadly, this is typical M$ unscrupulous business practice that we see surface again and again in virtually every industry. It makes one wonder if corruption and deception are 'virtues' in M$. I wish I could say that I was just being a bigot but, unfortunately, the examples are everywhere.

Until M$ figures out how to integrate integrity and compassion into their "business practices", I will make great effort avoid buying M$ anything as much as possible.

Guest 1: You Attack China ....But not Microsoft whose practices aren't alien to us.

hheemmpp said:

I don't think Microsoft would steal it but more like base its code off of it since its a big company I think It would be able to do its own things.

Guest said:

Hey Guest 2, Guest 1 here. It's true that MS is far from perfect and should take some responsibility for outsourcing code generation to the lowest 'third world' bidders to try to save $ rather than supporting talented workers in their home turf. A clear karmic lesson here for us all.

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