Microsoft's Juku service in China did indeed steal code from Plurk, a popular Twitter rival in Asia, the software giant has admitted.
Plurk alleged this week that about 80 percent of Juku's code base was stolen from Plurk. Shortly after the accusations appeared on Plurk's blog, Microsoft suspended the Juku service and said it was investigating the matter.
Now it says that a vendor working with Microsoft's MSN China joint venture acknowledged that a portion of the code that it provided was indeed copied.
Microsoft was apologetic in its note. "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 in the statement.
The company has worked hard over the years to try to prevent the piracy of its own software. China, where the Juku service was developed, is one of the biggest consumers of pirated Microsoft software.
Microsoft said it is suspending the Juku service indefinitely and that it assumes responsibility for the situation. It apologised to Plurk and said it would reach out to the company directly to explain what happened.
Microsoft also said it will be working with MSN China to examine development practices and applications provided by vendors.
Plurk has not responded on its blog to Microsoft's latest statement.