Microsoft has been accused by a company called Plurk of having ripped off its site design for its Chinese micro-blogging service. Microsoft has since pulled the service, seemingly confirming Plurks accusations.
The word comes from Plurk Labs’ own blog of Microsoft’s alleged theft, and there are no punches pulled. Instead, Plurk goes straight for the jugular and essentially lists exactly what it feels Microsoft has done and just how much of its service has been “stolen” directly from Plurk’s own service. In Plurk’s Dave Thompson’s own words,
“Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but blatant theft of code, design, and UI elements is just not cool, especially when the infringing party is the biggest software company in the world. Yes, we’re talking about Microsoft. Blerg.”
Of course, Plurk is more than happy to provide some fairly damning evidence against Microsoft, citing the fact that the two services looks “eerily similar” and that the filter tabs, emoticons, qualifier/verb placement, Karma scoring system, media support, new user walkthroughs and “just about everything else that gives Plurk its trademark appeal” Microsoft China has taken some liberties with.
Plurk’s general response is that, “… for the most part, we don’t get bothered by clones,” but it certainly does seem to have itself in a bit of a tizzy over Microsoft’s apparent imitation. What makes this whole situation different is that Plurk feels “wholly wronged, both legally and more importantly, morally, and this just happens to be one of those cases.”
If nothing else, the fact that Microsoft has plugged its own Chinese offering following the accusation is a little damning, but we’ll be curious to see an official response from the company. Until then, Plurk’s word and the fact that the site is down is all we have to go on, and it’s not looking great for Microsoft China.
If you’d like to read more, and it’s an interesting story, then you should check out the official blog post from Plurk on the topic. It doesn’t paint a flattering picture of Microsoft China, by any means.