Plurk, the Mississauga based Twitter clone founded in 2008, published a blog post today that builds the case that Microsoft China in a recently released application stole much of the Plurk design and underlying code.
The Microsoft service, Mclub, released to Chinese users in November mimics on top of other Plurk design features, Plurk’s unique left-to-right timeline scrolling system, as well as it’s verb system where users prepend their updates with verbs such as “Malcolm thinks…” or “Malcolm hates…”.
The blog post written by Plurk lead developer and co-founder, Amir Salihefendic, goes to to show code samples taken from the two applications that show them to be almost similar. The following image taken from the Plurk blog shows the Microsoft China design top, and Plurk’s design on the bottom.
Plurk, who say their service is 10x more popular in Taiwan than Twitter, and that is “emerging as Asia’s answer to Twitter in many of the biggest countries in East Asian”, go on to question the motivation to why Microsoft might have done this:
“We’re still in shock asking why Microsoft would even stoop to this level of wilfully plagiarizing a young and innovative upstart’s work rather than reach out to us or innovate on their own terms. Of course, it just hits that much closer to home when all your years of hard work and effort to create something unique are stolen so brazenly.”
Time will tell if Microsoft China will respond to the allegations, or what further action Plurk might take.
Update Dec 16: See Microsoft’s response here, Microsoft Statement Regarding MSN China Joint Venture’s Juku Feature.