Microsoft on Tuesday indefinitely suspended MSN Juku, its new microblogging service in China, after its Chinese vendor was caught lifting code from a rival Canadian startup, Plurk.
"We will be suspending access to the Juku beta indefinitely," the Redmond, Washington-based software giant said in a statement.
"The vendor has now acknowledged that a portion of the code they provided was indeed copied," Microsoft said.
According to Plurk, as much as 80 percent of the basecode used in MSN Juku was "stolen directly from Plurk," which claims to be the biggest microblogging service in Taiwan, 10 times bigger than Twitter.
Microsoft said the plagiarism of the code 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.
"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," Microsoft said.
"We are obviously very disappointed, but we assume responsibility for this situation," the company said. "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."
Juku was launched by Microsoft in November.
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