Microsoft closing Encarta online encyclopedia

Mar 30, 2009
A Microsoft booth at a technology fair. Microsoft plans to close its Encarta online encyclopedia, which competes in an arena dominated by communally-crafted free Internet reference source Wikipedia.

Microsoft plans to close its Encarta online encyclopedia, which competes in an arena dominated by communally-crafted free Internet reference source Wikipedia.

The US software colossus said that on October 31 it will turn off all its Encarta websites everywhere except in Japan, with that service to be terminated on the last day of December.

"The category of traditional encyclopedias and reference material has changed," Microsoft said in an online message at its Encarta website on Monday.

"People today seek and consume information in considerably different ways than in years past."

Encarta was launched in 1993 as competition for traditional reference books such as those offered by Britannica.

Encarta was originally available for purchase as a multimedia computer resource in DVD-ROM or CD-ROM formats and eventually became available online on a subscription basis.

Encarta's popularity faded after the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation launched online in 2001.

While Wikipedia lets users continually update or refine entries, improvements suggested to Encarta must pass muster with editors before eventually being incorporated into the data base.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Streaming release of 'Interview' test for industry

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Expert: Wikipedia won't go away, so learn how to use it

Feb 22, 2007

The popularity of Wikipedia makes it important that users learn to use the online collaborative encyclopedia as a starting point for their research rather than as the final word, says a Purdue University communications ...

Researchers confirm the power of altruism in Wikipedia

Oct 17, 2007

The beauty of open-source applications is that they are continually improved and updated by those who use them and care about them. Dartmouth researchers looked at the online encyclopedia Wikipedia to determine if the anonymous, ...

Report: Newspaper Web sites see readership rise

Nov 16, 2005

While print newspapers continue to dwindle in circulation, newspaper Web site readership is thriving, up 11 percent from last year, according to Neilson//NetRatings. Newspaper Web sites attracted 39.3 million unique visitors in ...

Free software gets an education

Nov 12, 2008

Companies, organisations and citizens spend billions a year on licensing fees for proprietary software. Could that money not be put to better use developing free software alternatives and local expertise?

Recommended for you

Streaming release of 'Interview' test for industry

Dec 25, 2014

Sony's "The Interview" has been a hacking target, a punchline and a political lightning rod. Now, with its release online at the same time it debuts in theaters, it has a new role: a test for a new kind of ...

User comments : 6

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

docknowledge
4.5 / 5 (6) Mar 30, 2009
Unsurprising. I worked for Microsoft. There's hardly an ounce of originality or desire to be outstandingly creative in anyone I worked with, and certainly none of the intelligence that would make a competitive encyclopedia.

What valuable intellectual property Microsoft has, they bought from other companies. The rest is marketing and aggressive business practices.
jabits
1.2 / 5 (6) Mar 30, 2009
@docknowledge
This adds nothing. Sour grapes...
TangentNigra
5 / 5 (3) Mar 31, 2009
@jabits
I thought it was relevent. It gave an insight into Microsoft and why it is stagnating
ealex
3.5 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2009
@docknowledge : it shows in their products which are pretty much only copying what others have done and bringing little original and innovative to the table. The only reason Microsoft is still standing on the desktop market is that it was first to the bone and continues to be widely supported by software manufacturers. But the tides are slowly but surely turning.
1768
not rated yet Apr 11, 2009
Wikipedia, with a 97% share of the online encyclopedia market, has forced Microsoft to shut down Encarta. How long will it be before Wikipedia claims the prize scalp of Encyclopaedia Britannica?

Encyclopaedia Britannica did not think that an open source product like Wikipedia would significantly challenge the credibility of its brand. They were dead wrong and Encyclopaedia Britannica's staff seriously misread the global market. They are now very concerned about the widespread use of a free Wikipedia vs their paid subscription model. From a corporate and financial perspective, Encyclopaedia Britannica is in significant trouble.

insectking
not rated yet Jun 01, 2009
Why not just release it for free and give a discount on future product with their existing Encarta subscribers?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.