Microsoft Might Still Face Lawsuit from Plurk for Stealing Code

Lora Bentley

Microsoft China caused many a raised eyebrow recently when it launched -- and then quickly suspended -- a new microblogging site called Juku. Computerworld reports Microsoft apologized Tuesday and admitted that a vendor with which Microsoft China was working on Juku confessed to providing code copied from Plurk.


Here's what bugs me, though. Microsoft didn't do anything until the powers that be at Plurk started making noise Monday about what appeared to be copied code. In a blog post, Plurk representatives said:

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.

Plurk then provided screen shots of the two user interfaces, as well as of portions of the code in question. The company indicated it was "exploring its options."


Then Microsoft shut down Juku and apologized. Now, maybe it's true Microsoft had no idea until then. But if it's also true that roughly 80 percent of the code was lifted, as Plurk indicates, I think the situation calls for more than "We're sorry and we won't do it again."


Apparently Plurk representatives think the same thing. According to, Plurk co-founder Alvin Woon responded to Microsoft's apology and statement this way:

We are definitely looking at all possibilities on how to move forward... A lawsuit is definitely one of the many options we have considered and will continue to look closely to.

PCWorld also indicates Microsoft's admission is "at odds" with a statement from Microsoft China that the code is "a local innovation...based on Windows Live Messenger Networks."

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