Microsoft Admits MSN China Ripped Off Plurk

Plurk Logo cartoon

The technology world is full of little ironies. Today, one of them is that one of the world’s largest software makers—which has been working with law enforcement, industry groups, and legislators for decades in efforts to counter software piracy and copyright infringement—has itself engages in outright theft of another company’s software. Microsoft has come clean, admitting that its MSN China joint venture stole code from Canadian micro-blogging service Plurk.

The fracas stems from MSN China’s launch of a social networking and microblogging service dubbed Juku, which bore more than a little resemblance to Canada-based microblogging service Plurk. Then the resemblance was brought to Plurk’s attention, they claim to have found hundreds of instances of, essentially, outright theft of Plurk’s code, on top of a not-even-barely-concealed ripoff off Plurk’s interface and feature set. And it’s not as if Plurk’s interface is generic: the service uses a unique side-scrolling timeline for users’ posts and activities.

Microsoft is setting the blame for the copying on a third party vendor with whom it contracted to produce the Juku service, but is nonetheless assuming responsibility for the theft. “We are obviously very disappointed, but we assume responsibility for this situation,” Microsoft wrote in a statement. “We apologize to Plurk and we will be reaching out to them directly to explain what happened and the steps we have taken to resolve the situation.”

Microsoft has suspended access to its Juku service indefinitely.

Although Plurk isn’t a major player in the North American social networking scene (unlike, say, Twitter), Plurk has found quite a lot of traction in Asia. Plurk claims to be 10 times more popular than Twitter in Taiwan.

The companies haven’t revealed whether Microsoft will be offering any sort of financial compensation for ripping off Plurk’s interface and code, or whether Plurk intends to pursue any legal remedies.

Computing

In the age of Alexa and Siri, Cortana’s halo has grown dim

In a sea of voice assistants, Cortana has become almost irrelevant. The nearly five-year-old voice assistant is seeing little love from consumers, and here’s why it is dead.
Social Media

Twitter keeps your direct messages, even years after you delete them

Twitter is keeping copies of direct messages sent through the social network even years after users delete them, according to security researcher Karan Saini who discovered an archive containing old DMs from deleted and suspended accounts.
Product Review

Nokia’s 3.1 Plus is an affordable phone that’s crippled by its camera

The Nokia 3.1 Plus is HMD Global’s first smartphone to be sold by a U.S. carrier in-store. It’s only available on Cricket Wireless right now, which underlines its focus on affordability. Should you buy a phone this affordable?
Computing

These 30 useful apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find.
Computing

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.
Computing

Wi-Fi helps connect all of our devices at high-speed, but what exactly is it?

What is Wi-Fi? It's a technology we all use everyday to connect all of our portable devices, but understanding how it works and how far it's come from its humble beginnings is another thing entirely.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Web

Are you one of the billions who have watched these super-popular YouTube videos?

Viral videos can quickly garner millions upon millions of views, but even they fall well behind the view counts on the most watched YouTube videos ever. Those have been watched billions of times.
Computing

Windows updates shouldn't cause problems, but if they do, here's how to fix them

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.
Computing

Speed up your system by tweaking the startup application in Windows and MacOS

Bothered by programs that automatically start when you boot your computer, or want to add a new one to the list? Here's how to change your startup programs in Windows 7, 8, and 10, along with Apple's MacOS.
Business

Marriott asking guests for data to see if they were victims of the Starwood hack

Marriott has created an online form to help you find out if your data was stolen in the massive Starwood hack that came to light toward the end of 2018. But take note, it requires you to submit a bunch of personal details.
Computing

Apple may go big with a redesigned 16-inch MacBook Pro, 31.6-inch 6K display

In a research note, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo writes that there are indications the company could be releasing a 16-inch MacBook Pro, as well as a 31.6-inch 6K display in 2019.
Computing

Accidental Amazon listings provides peek at cost of GTX 1660 Ti PCs

An accidental listing on Amazon provided a peek at the final cost of some of the new Windows 10 desktops with the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti on board, with prices possibly in the $1,200 range.
Deals

The best Presidents’ Day sales 2019: Amazon, Walmart, Dell, and more

Presidents' Day sales are a great chance to score electronics, clothing, home and office stuff, and other goodies at a discount. We’ve smoked out a large handful of the best of these Presidents' Day deals, from tech to bedding, to help…