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Microsoft Launches A Twitter-Like Service In China

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At least for now, Twitter has pretty much locked up the microblogging market in the U.S., but a couple of big players seem to think they can still get traction in some foreign countries. Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is launching a Twitter-like service in China, IDG News Service reports. The product — called MSN Juku — lets users write up 140-character messages which show up on a page along with similar messages from Windows Live Messenger contacts. Juku comes after Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) introduced a Twitter-like microblogging service of its own — called Yahoo Meme — which it is pushing in several markets where Twitter is less established than in the U.S.

A Microsoft spokeswoman says Juku is only available in China and that there are “no plans to release it in other markets at this time.” Yahoo similarly has downplayed its plans for Meme saying it is in testing and that it will share additional details about the product “if and when we launch it publicly.”

However, there could be an opening, because until recently, Twitter seems to have focused most of its attention on English-language markets. That, however, has changed recently with the roll out of the service in additional languages this fall, including French and Spanish, and a high-profile deal with India’s largest mobile carrier, Bharti Airtel.