Microsoft may soon find itself on the opposite end of an intellectual property dispute than it’s used to facing. Canada-based microblogging service Plurk is crying foul, saying Microsoft China has stolen it’s code. In a blog post on Monday, the company claims that as much as 80 percent of the code for Microsoft’s competing service Juku is actually code for Plurk.
They may be onto something too. A cursory comparison of Juku and Plurk even at face value seems to indicate some striking similarities. Take for example the user interface, shown below:
As you can see, the UI looks very similar. Plurk claims that this has caused the company some trouble: users have questioned the service wondering if the two companies had struck some type of partnership. Plurk says it isn’t bothered by clones, but Microsoft China has gone a bit too far.
“There will always be exceptional circumstances where we feel wholly wronged, both legally and more important, morally, and this one just happens to be one of those rare cases,” the company said. “That it is Microsoft doing the copying in broad daylight makes it even more incredulous.”
Plurk is exploring its options as we speak, but it certainly seems as if this is headed to some type of court standoff if Microsoft doesn’t explain itself awfully quick. It has no partnership at all with the company — and Plurk was quick to point out in its blog that it has no problem working with partners.
All we’re getting from Microsoft at this point is that “we’re looking into the matter.” Well Redmond better look quick — this is pretty darn blatant. It’s somewhat not surprising that an event like this is coming out of China, however. We all know the country’s history when it comes to electronic piracy. But to have it come out of Microsoft certainly reflects on the management of the Chinese arm of the world’s biggest software company.
Updates to come as we find out more.