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Microsoft Finally Kills Online Encyclopedia Encarta

Business & GovernmentNews
, 31 Mar 2009News

After several years of lingering in the shadow of Wikipedia, Microsoft has decided to close down its once very popular Encarta website and will also stop selling Student and Encarta Premium software products.

On a statement on MSN's Encarta website, Microsoft pins the reason behind the demise of its encyclopedia on the fact that people " today seek and consume information in considerably different ways than in years past".

All Encarta websites with the exception of Japan will be discontinued on the 31st of October 2009 with the Japanese version closing down on the 31st of December. The production of Microsoft Encarta software products will stop in June 2009.

Microsoft will continue to offer technical support for software products until 2012 and users who paid for a subscription with Encarta Premium will be offered a refund.

The gap between Wikipedia and Encarta has increased tremendously. The fre online encyclopedia is now ranked 7th worldwide according to online rating website Alexa, just behind MSN.com group of websites which comprises Encarta.com and many other Micosoft.com online properties.

The culling is the latest in Microsoft drive to refocus on core business and like its antivirus application, Onecare, Encarta was a consumer product that was on the decline. 

Equipt and MS flight simulator were also given the boot in the last few months. It is also likely that other consumer services and products could be reviewed in the forthcoming months.

Microsoft is not alone in refocusing its resources elsewhere. Google has already announced a number of job cuts and has scaled back or closed down a number of online services like Jaiku or Google Notebook but launched Knol, another online encyclopedia.

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Our Comments

Rest in Peace Encarta. As a teenager, I thoroughly enjoyed going through the twin-CDROM version of Microsoft's encyclopedia when it was launched. Just like its arrival sparked the slow death of paper-based encyclopedia, Encarta has also succumbed to another disruptive paradigm that takes the process of knowledge management even further. Next on the way out, we guess, could be Microsoft Works.

Related Links

Important Notice: MSN Encarta to be Discontinued

http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/guides/default.aspx?page=FAQ

Microsoft to Shut Down Encarta Web Sites

http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/162245/microsoft_to_shut_down_encarta_web_sites.html

Microsoft To Shutter Encarta, Read All About It On Wikipedia

http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/03/30/microsoft-to-shutter-encarta-read-all-about-it-on-wikipedia/

Wikipedia brings end of Encarta

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/250433/wikipedia-brings-end-of-encarta.html

Microsoft to discontinue Encarta

http://www.reuters.com/article/CMPTRS/idUSLV28230720090331

Microsoft to Shut Encarta As Free Sites Alter Market

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123846750257272565.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Microsoft shutting Encarta encyclopedia

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/microsoft/2008951862_webencarta31.html

Victim of Wikipedia: Microsoft to shut down Encarta

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2009/mar/31/microsoft-wikipedia

Microsoft closing the book on Encarta

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10207336-56.html

Microsoft pulls the plug on Encarta

http://www.webuser.co.uk/news/279702.html

Microsoft killing off Encarta at end of year

http://www.igizmo.co.uk/articles/news/1281-online-microsoft-killing-encarta-end-year

Microsoft kills off Encarta encyclopaedia

http://www.techradar.com/news/software/microsoft-kills-off-encarta-encyclopaedia-588932

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