Microsoft closing Encarta online encyclopedia

Microsoft plans to close its Encarta online encyclopedia
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

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User comments

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.

Mar 30, 2009
This adds nothing. Sour grapes...

Mar 31, 2009
I thought it was relevent. It gave an insight into Microsoft and why it is stagnating

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.

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.

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

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