Microsoft has indefinitely suspended its Asian micro-blogging site after admitting that developers "copied" code from another website.
The software giant said that MSN Juku was developed by a Chinese vendor, who had taken some of the code from start-up micro-blogging site Plurk.
“The vendor has now acknowledged that a portion of the code they provided was indeed copied. 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,” a statement from Microsoft read.
“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. We are a company that respects intellectual property and it was never our intent to have a site that was not respectful of the work that others in the industry have done.”
Plurk posted a blog on Monday accusing the software giant of stealing its design, accompanied by screen shorts of its own site and MSN Juku. The two sites do appear practically identical, and Plurk argued that 80 per cent of the client and product code base was also copied.
Microsoft said it had suspended access to the Juku beta indefinitely.
“We are obviously very disappointed, but we assume responsibility for this situation. 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,” the statement continued.
“In the wake of this incident, Microsoft and our MSN China joint venture will be taking a look at our practices around applications code provided by third-party vendors.”