Wikipedia Wins Battle with Encarta, Microsoft Retires from Encyclopedia Business
Article by George Norman
On 31 Mar 2009
The digital multimedia encyclopedia published by Microsoft, Encarta, will be discontinued by the end of the year confirmed the Redmond software giant. All of Microsoft’s Encarta web pages will be shut down by the 31st of October; the only exception is Encarta Japan, which will shut its door precisely on the 31st of December 2009. Microsoft Student and Encarta Premium will see the end a lot sooner than that – June 2009.

“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. Microsoft's vision is that everyone around the world needs to have access to quality education, and we believe that we can use what we’ve learned and assets we’ve accrued with offerings like Encarta to develop future technology solutions. In doing so, we feel strongly that we are making the right investments that will help make our vision a reality,” explained Microsoft.


There is of course the matter of money that must be taken onto consideration, and more precisely the matter of people who parted with their hard earned buck in order to get a paid version of MSN Encarta Premium. Microsoft will issue a refund on the 30th of April – the money will be transferred to the credit card Microsoft has on file as being the card used to purchase an MSN Encarta Premium subscription. You will be able to use your regular login credentials and access your MSN Encarta Premium account until October 30, or December 31 if you are from Japan. You should also note that discontinuing Encarta will not impact MSN Explorer.

Microsoft did not specifically point the finger at Wikipedia as the way in which “traditional encyclopedias and reference material has changed”, but we can figure out things on our own – and Hitwise can confirm. According to the internet tracker, 97% of online encyclopedia visits in the US of A are credited to Wikipedia. MSN Encarta, with 1.27% comes in second, and comes in third with 0.76%.

Tags: Microsoft, Encarta, MSN Encarta, Wikipedia
About the author: George Norman
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