Microsoft nearly admits: Wikipedia killed Encarta

Within the last few days Microsoft quietly announced it is killing its Encarta encyclopedia, with the actual date of death October, 2009. What it hinted at, but didn't quite say, was that Wikipedia killed it.

The announcement about Encarta's impending death, which you can find here, says that Encarta Web sites will be killed as of October 31, 2009, except for Encarta Japan, which will bite the dust on December 31, 2009. The Student and Encarta Premium versions will no longer be sold by Microsoft after June 2009.

Here's the explanation Microsoft gave for ending Encarta:

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.

No mention of the word Wikipedia, but it's pretty clear that Microsoft is admitting that's what killed Encarta, when it 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."

Todd Bishop, in his TechFlash blog, notes that when he interviewed Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales five years ago, Wales in essence said Wikipedia would kill Encarta.

"Clearly it's difficult to sell something in a shrink-wrapped box if something far superior is available for free on the Web," he told Bishop five years ago. He also told Bishop that it would become "harder and harder" for Encarta to find people willing to buy it.

He was clearly right. In its time, Encarta was a very good product, an affordable encyclopedia at a time when good encyclopedias were excessively expensive. Its time, though, has passed, and Microsoft made the right move by pulling the plug.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags encartamsn

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Preston Gralla

Show Comments





Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?