Microsoft China Rips Off Competitor’s Code

Dec 17, 2009

Once again, Microsoft have lifted from outside sources for their own product without paying heed to license restrictions. However, this time they have taken from proprietary code.

Steve Ballmer should be having trouble sleeping at night: the countless companies who work under contract from Redmond Software can hardly resist the temptation to take a little code from an outside project.

Just a month ago, Microsoft had to take a USB-ISO writing tool for Windows 7offline and to republish under the terms of the GPL as this product actually runs with free software.

This most current incident involving Microsoft China’s Microblogging portal Juku goes even further and made the most blatant move of taking 80% of the source code from competitor Plurk. The juiciest part of the story is that the source code was never under the terms of a free license, rather that it is a source code ripoff in the classic sense.

Microsoft has since admitted to the code theft and taken the Juku site from the net in order to look into the incident more thoroughly. Redmond has since then apologized to Plurk and informed of his intention to examine the practices of MSN joint ventures in China: "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."

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