Reports surfaced yesterday that MSN China’s new Juku social networking feature bore more than a passing resemblance to a small social network site named Plurk. MSN China’s Juku feature has now been put on hold while Microsoft investigates:
Here’s what we know at this point. Our MSN China joint venture contracted with an independent vendor to create a feature called MSN Juku that allowed MSN users to find friends via microblogging and online games. This MSN Juku feature was made available to MSN China users in November and is still in beta.
Because questions have been raised about the code base comprising the service, MSN China will be suspending access to the Juku beta feature temporarily while we investigate the matter fully.
And yes, MSN China is a joint venture between Microsoft and a near-governmental entity, Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd., which is the investment company of Jiang Mianheng, the son of a former president of China.