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.