Microsoft Launches, Pulls, Twitter-Style Microblog - InformationWeek

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12/15/2009
10:06 AM
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Microsoft Launches, Pulls, Twitter-Style Microblog

Software maker yanks Juku social networking site after competitor cries foul.

Less than a month after launching it, Microsoft has pulled a Twitter-style microblogging service from the Chinese market amid allegations it stole code and content from a rival.

Competitor Plurk, which says it operates Asia's top microblog, claims Microsoft's Juku service rips off its look, feel, and more.

"Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but blatant theft of code, design, and UI is just not cool," Plurk officials said in a blog post Tuesday.

Juku "is by and large an EXACT copy of Plurk's innovative left-right timeline scrolling navigation system," Plurk officials said in their post.

"We were first tipped off by high profile bloggers and Taiwanese users of our community that Microsoft had launched a new Chinese Microblogging service that looked eerily similar to Plurk," the officials said.

"Needless to say we were absolutely shocked and outraged when we first saw with our own eyes the cosmetic similarities Microsoft's new offering had with Plurk. From the filter tabs, emoticons qualifier/verb placement, Karma scoring system, media support, new user walkthroughs to pretty much everything else that gives Plurk its trademark service," the officials wrote.

Microsoft launched MSN Juku Dec. 1 in beta form. It lets users post 140-character messages, a la Twitter.

Plurk's charges against Microsoft are somewhat ironic, given that Microsoft officials have frequently spoken out against software piracy and theft of intellectual property in the Asian market.

Only last year, the company announced that a joint effort with the FBI and Chinese authorities helped bust up a major ring of software counterfeiters operating from the city of Guangdong in southern China. The gang was allegedly responsible for manufacturing and distributing more than $2 billion in fake Microsoft software.

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