Microsoft Closes the Door on Encarta Encyclopedia

Couldn't Compete with Wikipedia and...the Internet in General

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Microsoft is closing the door on its world-renowned Encarta encyclopedia. It’s not exactly slamming the door. Online versions will still be available until October 31st, and in Japan, Encarta will still be available online until the end of the year.


It appears that Microsoft has simply given up in a battle that it has been brutalized in against Wikipedia for the online encyclopedia space. Noam Cohen at the NYT Bits blog writes:

In January, Wikipedia got 97 percent of the visits that Web surfers in the United States made to online encyclopedias, according to the Internet ratings service Hitwise. Encarta was second, with 1.27 percent. Unlike Wikipedia, where volunteer editors quickly update popular entries, Encarta can be embarrassingly outdated. The entry for Joseph R. Biden Jr., for example, identifies him as vice president-elect and a U.S. senator.

It may seem scary to think that everybody’s relying on Wikipedia for factual information, when we all know that it can’t be totally counted on for that all the time. But let’s not forget we have search engines, which we often use for research that can point us to more (while certainly less too) trustworthy destinations for facts.

Even Microsoft says, "The category of traditional encyclopedias and reference material has changed. People today seek and consume information in considerably different ways than in years past." From the sound of it, you couldn’t really trust Encarta for the facts anyway (at least not updated ones).

Encarta software products will stop being made available for sale in June as well. Encarta will also stop being available on MSN Explorer on October 31st.

Microsoft Closes the Door on Encarta Encyclopedia
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  • http://rizfolio.com rizwan

    microsoft losing controling control over internet.. google is expending and they took the search engine, ads, maps everything… so microsoft do something better and inocative to catch up…

  • http://www.microsplot.com bszlachta

    “It may seem scary to think that everybody’s relying on Wikipedia for factual information…”

    Um, Wikipedia correctly states Biden’s status. Encarta gets it wrong. Really, I’m far more confident in the modern way of getting facts – Wikipedia + Google – than the old way!

  • http://www.bigsurrealestate.com/ Mike – Big Sur Real Estate

    I remember Encarta on CD-ROM caddies. I feel old now.

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