Latest from Microsoft says that by June the company will stop the distribution of their encyclopedia Encarta. They’ll also quit the software including Student and Premium edition. They’ll shut down the website on October 31 worldwide and no one could again access it anymore but Encarta Japan will be available up to December 31, 2009.
Encarta speaks about their closing: “Encarta has been a popular product around the world for many years. However, the category of traditional encyclopedias and reference material has changed. People today seek and consume information in considerably different ways than in years past. As part of Microsoft’s goal to deliver the most effective and engaging resources for today’s consumer, it has made the decision to exit the Encarta business.” (From Encarta’s FAQ .Read it full here)
Microsoft may have to cut down their costs and must have thought this will be an excellent way, anyway nothing is heard about their Encarta employees, whether they lose their job or not.
Encarta which was published first in 1993 offered people thousands of articles and multimedia study materials including pictures, illustrations, atlas, video and music clips, home work tools and many more was available as online subscription and CDs and DVDs. It was a great blow to printed encyclopedia in the market including Britannica. But by the 21st century Encarta was almost dead for Wikipedia which gained wide popularity and launched by Wikimedia, which was completely free and non-profit! Even though Wikipedia has user-generated content, it was not widely misused with frauds, instead provided quality content for its members. Encarta to regain their hold invited contents from their members, but never published users’ content without checking it. With content updated every second Wikipedia became the most visited online encyclopedia.
After all Google’s Knol, Encyclopedia.com and other such websites must also have compelled Microsoft to take such a rock splitting decision