"We have not really evaluated the code here, but assuming that this is a Linux implementation, we agree that the existing laws against software piracy are unlikely to apply here," a Microsoft spokesperson told Ars. "So we'd have to look to the protection offered under intellectual property law generally in the relevant jurisdictions. But it would be difficult to talk about the legal options in a general sense as each instance is unique, depending not only on the local IP laws in play (in this case in China) but also the technical implementation itself. We'd need to drill down into the specifics to understand better what Microsoft IP rights may be at stake here."
We prodded the company further to see whether it would be making an effort to "evaluate the code" and "drill down into the specifics" or if it would largely ignore the release since this was Linux and not stolen code. "While we can't comment on the future, we have no current litigation efforts in place about this," the Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to Ars. The almost pixel-perfect copycat is here to stay, at least for now. That stance might change if the release gains any traction. We doubt it will.