Microsoft has pulled its Chinese microblogging service amid claims that the company stole much of the site's code and its UI from a similar service called Plurk.
Plurk, a start-up microblogging rival of Twitter, yesterday claimed that Microsoft China had stolen its user interface and more than 80-percent of its code and applied the ripped data into the latter company's MSN Juku microblogging service in China. Plurk made the allegations in the company blog, and provided a few screenshots to show the similarities.
"We were first tipped off by high profile bloggers and Taiwanese users of our community that Microsoft had just launched a new Chinese microblogging service that looked eerily similar to Plurk," the company 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 appeal, Microsoft China’s offering ripped off our service."
PCWorld today cites a Microsoft spokesperson as saying MSN China contracted an independent vendor to create Juku and that the service has been pulled while the company investigates.