back to article Microsoft cops to webcode theft

Microsoft has admitted that its new Chinese microblogging service used webcode pilfered from a similar service popular elsewhere in Asia. On Monday, as reported by The Reg, Asian microblogging site Plurk accused Microsoft China of pilfering its code for a new social-networking feature known as Juku on the Chinese MSN site. …


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  1. fred slack 1


    A tiger at my homework on the way to school

  2. BigD


    While I'm sure this is a valid reason - that their contractors ripped of the code - is that an excuse to absolve themselves from blame? Heck no! MS needs to held responsible. What incentive do they have to prevent this kind of thing in the future if they aren't forced to take responsibility? This is a big "duh" that this is going to happen when you outsource to a country where the labor is cheap and cheating is culturally acceptable such that nobody gives a darn if they get caught. I've had to work with Indian contractors who ripped off code, which we identified thanks to just a little bit of diligence on our part because we actually want to know what we're releasing and charging our customers for.

    Microsoft needs to be held responsible for overseeing what their contractors are doing. That it was their contractors who stole might be reason, but it is ABSOLUTELY NOT AN EXCUSE!

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      They have

      "While I'm sure this is a valid reason - that their contractors ripped of the code - is that an excuse to absolve themselves from blame? Heck no! MS needs to held responsible"

      The BBC says they have done just that:

      "Microsoft apologised to Plurk, saying "we are obviously very disappointed but we assume responsibility for this situation"."

      I doubt it was intentional. MS is a huge corporation and shit happens. According to the BBC it would seem that Microsoft have taken responsibility and are working with Plurk (typical stupid 'webby' name) to resolve the issue.

  3. AoC

    Micro$oft stealing??????

    Since when is this news? They are the greatest thieves in the industry bar none.

    I mean c'mon, there has to be something 'new' out there in the tech industry to write about.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Classic Microsoft tactics

    Step 1: Do something naughty

    Step 2: Hope nobody notices

    Step 3: Deny all responsibility when someone inevitably does notice

    Step 4: Buy off/out the injured parties while still denying any wrongdoing

    Step 5: Profit!

    Step 6: Get bored and pull the plug when whatever it is doesn't do as well as Google

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin is it different

      How is it different (at least with steps 1-4) to any other company/person? Many people do something naughty (speed, nick a pen from work, insider share trading, share copyrighted media, crash a F1 car into a wall to rig a race) and try to deny it until clear evidence is produced. If everyone was honest, the courts would hardly ever need to have a full trial - everyone would plead guilty at the first hearing and be sentenced immediately.

      Of course, certainly doesn't make it right - but to suggest that Microsoft is somehow unique in these practices. In this case, Microsoft appear to be admitting the problem, pointing out that it wasn't actually them who did it, but also accepting that ultimately they're responsible as they made use of it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    "it wasn't me"

    "some big boys came and done it".

  6. Goat Jam

    Reaching out directly?

    "buy 'em out boys!"

  7. M Gale

    Everybody hates a pedant..

    ..but still, your link to the ImageMaker incident seems to be incorrect. Extraneous "/e".

  8. Big-nosed Pengie
    Gates Horns

    Sue 'em!

    Sue 'em for a brazillian dollars!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New Microsoft tactics

    1. Get a contractor to do something naughty

    2. Hope somebody notices

    3. Absolve self of blame / blame the contractor

    4. Pay nominal fee (optional) to injured party

    5. Enjoy the free (or cheap) publicity for the offending service, and increased traffic to said service

    6. Profit!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    "The vendor has now acknowledged that a portion of the code they provided was indeed copied. This was in ... inconsistent with Microsoft’s policies respecting intellectual property"

    Am I the only one to interpret this as meaning that Microsoft's policy is to not acknowledge any wrongdoing? i.e. copy as much as you want, just don't admit to it.

  11. Anonymous Coward


    Microsoft admit the code was copied, pull the code AND the site, apologise - Which part of this is not taking responsibility?

    I'm trying to think of whatever code review is sufficient to stop subcontractors copying code and not telling you, and I can't really think of one. Microsoft's actions in light of being informed of the code theft were correct and in-line with expectations of the situation.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    Business as usual in China. There have been plenty of similar accounts. Chinese Competitor's product at a trade show looks suspiciously familiar. Chinese Competitor's product has the same bugs as yours. Your Chinese client works openly in close cooperation with Chinese Competitor. This year they buy from you, next year ...

  13. Anonymous Coward

    huh what?

    "...Microsoft’s policies respecting intellectual property"

    I think Earth will freeze over a couple times before that will really happen


  14. Asgard
    Jobs Horns

    @"Microsoft’s policies respecting intellectual property"

    Microsoft's words are utter lying BS. Microsoft have done a lot more than just rip off the code. They also prove through their actions, that they tried to rip off the whole web site concept!

    So talking about "respecting intellectual property" is utterly two faced lies. Their actions prove they seek to steal whole web site concepts ... its just their contractor took them too literally.

    Microsoft's actions prove they seek to steal other peoples ideas.

    But then such a lack of morality, combined with two faced lies, is exactly what you would expect from a corporation run by a bunch of Narcissists, headed by a chair throwing bullying Narcissist.

  15. JaitcH
    Gates Horns

    ... equally inconsistent with Microsoft’s policies respecting intellectual property...

    The statement: "equally inconsistent with Microsoft’s policies respecting intellectual property." undoubtedly refers to the repeated theft and purloining of others I.P. over the years as being an unpublished Standard Operating Procedure of MS.

  16. Sodabread
    Gates Horns

    A payoff isn't enough

    It seems like time and time again MS just pays off the offended company and all is good.

    Is it just me or does it seem like the governments never get involved and actually punish them for breaking their copyright laws? I'd like to think they'd be a bit (but not too much) more hesitant about neglecting copyright if they were hammered every time it happened.

    1. JaitcH

      But governments do get involved ....

      if you have enough money to pay off the pols - in England read the Labour Party - to help them get re-elected.

  17. Richard 102
    Black Helicopters

    Habitual Offender

    Long before ImageMaker, there was the Canyon Software case back in the early 90s.

    This was the source for that "$150million bailout" rumor/blather you hear from Apple haters from time to time.

  18. Jean-Luc
    Gates Halo

    @BigD & others


    I am thinking of publishing an app which requires lots of small cartoons of common things. So, not being an artist, I'd like to engage the services of one. I've been having headaches about how to not end up with ripped off stuff that a) I've paid for and b) for which I would additionally be held liable for IP theft.

    The only thing I can think of is to ask one specific feature in a few drawings that would not exist - presumably that would be hard to copy and then make sure that the artwork is similar to that on the other stuff. That would establish the same artist did the work. But a rather convoluted mess just to ensure that what I am willing to pay for isn't being stolen from someone else by some sleazebag.

    My point? You should do due diligence, and certainly NOT wink at IP theft. But you should get a reasonable benefit of the doubt. M$ or not. Or do _you_ want to end up at the receiving end of the stick as a result of an honest mistake on your part?

    Plus, if you want to rip off a website, and you have M$'s wallet, all you have to do is to copy the feature set, you certainly have enough $ to pay some coders to piss lines of code.

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