Microsoft Rips Off Plurk

It seems that Microsoft China has ripped off the design, UI and code of Plurk, China’s most popular microblogging service. Microsoft’s “MClub” ( doesn’t just look uncannily similar, a lot of the JavaScript looks to have been copied and pasted.

We were first tipped off by high profile bloggers and Taiwanese users of our community that Microsoft had just launched a new Chinese microblogging service that looked eerily similar to Plurk. Needless to say we were absolutely shocked and outraged when we first saw with our own eyes the cosmetic similarities Microsoft’s new offering had with Plurk. From the filter tabs, emoticons, qualifier/verb placement, Karma scoring system, media support, new user walkthroughs to pretty much everything else that gives Plurk its trademark appeal, Microsoft China’s offering ripped off our service.

See the original Plurk Blog post for all the intriguing details. We need to see some social media push on this, I think. Unless there’s more to this story, it seems that Microsoft, arguably the largest software company in the world, is peddling a plagiarized product.

  • Steven Clark

    Matt, I’m wondering if at sometime the Plurk guys didn’t get an interview from Microsoft for potential financing that never eventuated. One thing Microsoft is apparently rife at is calling small firms in and getting them to sign a sheet before they get the interview – it allows microsoft to not only look at your code but to snarfle it up like a big code pig and not ever pay you any royalties…

    The Australian guy who just won the half a billion dollar settlement from microsoft (under appeal) over his authentication code (used in Windows) was asked early on to sign such a deal. He’d just read a book about Microsoft business tactics so refused. He said, after the verdict, that had he signed that paper that day he’d have been without a case to chase them on.

    So… maybe this is a case of signing one’s work away to the money grubbers with the fine print…

    It will be interesting to see Microsoft’s response. Maybe I’m wrong, who knows? Has Plurk been into Microsoft’s offices recently looking for a deal?

    • Matt

      I don’t know. I’m not really a Plurker. :)

      But if that is the case, it’s still wrong. Just wrong. And people talk about how “evil” Apple and Google are…

  • Steven Clark

    Ha ha… MS is just a shadow on the same path as other large companies who get caught up in the “maximising revenue” stream. And all the while we keep reading about these lousey three strikes laws that governments keep trying to sneak into our lives…

    I wonder if in 10 years time we’ll be asking what killed the web – greed or simply forgetting that its about people freely connecting and sharing information…

    I’m kind of hoping that a Plurker will drop by with some insider gossip about how Microsoft got hold of the idea that they could do this one. There must be a story, I guess.

    • Matt

      The root problem is the stock market, I think. If a company doesn’t have linearly increasing revenue, it’s deemed a failure and folds. Nothing in reality is linear, least of all matters of economics.

      The problem is that we have huge multinational companies that aren’t just making one or two people some money, but making scores of executives and major shareholders craploads of money.

      And it’s never enough for them…

      I’m kind of hoping that a Plurker will drop by with some insider gossip about how Microsoft got hold of the idea that they could do this one. There must be a story, I guess.

      Yes, that would certainly be nice. I think Techcrunch, Mashable, and the usual suspects have picked up on the story now, so I might have to give their comments a quick scan and see if anyone’s shed some light on this.