Plurk Mess Has Microsoft Rethinking Third-Party Vendor Practices

Lora Bentley

In Wednesday's post about Microsoft and Plurk, I noted that Microsoft admitted the vendor with which Microsoft China was working on Juku had copied code from rival microblogging site Plurk. I also noted that Microsoft had apologized and quickly suspended Juku.


What I didn't realize was that the copying that took place was indeed in direct violation of Microsoft China's contract with the vendor. Moreover, the situation has caused Microsoft to re-evaluate its "practices around applications code provided by third-party vendors."


TechFlash's Todd Bishop quoted the Microsoft statement in a Tuesday update:

This was in clear violation of the vendor's contract with the MSN China joint venture, and equally inconsistent with Microsoft's policies respecting intellectual property. When we hire an outside company to do development work, our practice is to include strong language in our contract that clearly states the company must provide work that does not infringe the intellectual property rights of others...[I]t was never our intent to have a site that was not respectful of the work that others in the industry have done.

I may have been hasty in assuming that Microsoft knew anything about the copying before it acted on Tuesday, but I still think it will take more than the apology to make this situation right. It will be interesting to see what Plurk decides to do next.

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