Software giant Microsoft has shut down a Chinese-language microblogging service dubbed Juku following accusations from Canadian microblogging service Plurk that Juku not only copied Plurk’s look-and-feel and interface, but outright stole Plurk’s code to create a copycat service.
Microsoft launched the Juku service back in November to little fanfare; Plurk was apparently tipped off by Taiwanese bloggers, who noticed the similarity to Plurk. Although Plurk isn’t hugely popular in North America, Plurk claims to be ten times bigger than Twitter in Taiwan alone with a growing user base in East Asia. Perhaps Plurk’s signature feature is a horizontally-scrolling timeline showing users’s activity and that of their friends and fans.
In a statement, Microsoft claims MSN China contracted with an independent vendor to create the Juku service, and has suspended access while it investigates Plurks’ accusations. “At Microsoft, we take intellectual property very seriously. We make our IP available for others to license, and we license other people’s intellectual property as appropriate when we use it in our products.”
Plurk claims it has never been contacted by Microsoft in any way about licensing technology or collaborating on a service.
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