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Microsoft Closing Books Forever on Encarta

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 26 comments

Microsoft has announced that the company’s long-standing multimedia encyclopedia, Encarta will be discontinued on Halloween 2009. With Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica available, we assume not too many of you will be upset save for the nostalgic few who remember using it as a reference for school assignments back in the day.

Announcing the decision in a note on the Encarta website, Microsoft pointed to the changes that have taken place in the world of electronic encyclopedias over the years Encarta has been available:

"The category of traditional encyclopedias and reference material has changed. People today seek and consume information in considerably different ways than in years past,” the post explains.

“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 continued.

MSN Encarta worldwide with the exception of Japan, will be shut down on October 31, 2009. The Japanese site will be discontinued on December 31, 2009. PC World reports that those who have paid for Encarta Premium will get a refund for fees paid beyond April 30 and can continue to use the site through until October.

How many of you actively still use Encarta and are upset by this news? I’m going to go out on a limb and say very few. Let us know if you use Encarta and why you prefer it over the other options out there.

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  • 0 Hide
    seboj , March 31, 2009 2:39 PM
    Sad day. I used to use Encarta all the time for homework back when I was in grade school. But, that's the way it goes.
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    captaincharisma , March 31, 2009 2:43 PM
    man is that still around? i haven't seen that program sense 1997
  • 2 Hide
    JMcEntegart , March 31, 2009 2:54 PM
    That was our reaction too! One of the lads said it had just completely fallen from his memory, like it never existed. That said, he later recalled he had a copy lying in his homeoffice, STILL.

    The only reason I remember it is because I had a copied version and the RW CD was all glossy and gold and blingin'. Those were the days.
  • 0 Hide
    aalkema , March 31, 2009 2:56 PM
    That existed?
  • 2 Hide
    rigaudio , March 31, 2009 3:07 PM
    Didn't they give those away on "Where In Time Is Carmen Sandiego?"
    My childhood is wilting away. :C
  • 0 Hide
    rigaudio , March 31, 2009 3:12 PM
    rigaudioDidn't they give those away on "Where In Time Is Carmen Sandiego?"My childhood is wilting away. :C

    Never mind, it was Britannica.
  • 0 Hide
    mtyermom , March 31, 2009 3:21 PM
    Yup, I have fond memories, but am in now way sad to see it go...
  • 0 Hide
    commonlove1985 , March 31, 2009 3:35 PM
    I use Encarta Dictionaries as my main vocabulary source. It's far better than any other online or offline dictionary/thesaurus I've ever seen.
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    juvealert , March 31, 2009 3:42 PM
    i'm not an encarta freak, but why don't they make it available online like wikipedia?

  • 0 Hide
    waikano , March 31, 2009 3:54 PM
    Never used and to be honest thought it had died a long time ago. Well in internet years that would be about 2 years.
  • 0 Hide
    Greatwalrus , March 31, 2009 4:03 PM
    Used Encarta in grade school and quite often found it useless. But nevertheless, it was a good-minded project. Kind of forgot about it with Wikipedia available and all.
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    rooket , March 31, 2009 5:19 PM
    i've never got use out of any encyclopedia for computers for school projects and most school projects make use of a regular encyclopedia useless to begin with. to me encyclopedias are just for personal reference. i used to buy britannica for pc, it's nice to have but just something to have sitting on the shelf mainly. i'm not sure how it compares to the book version which is a great deal more expensive.
  • 1 Hide
    Maxor127 , March 31, 2009 5:29 PM
    Yeah, I used Encarta '94 and '95. It was a good source, especially since our encyclopedia books were from the 60s, and it allowed me to cite sources for papers without having to go to the library back before the internet was popular. Oh well.
  • 0 Hide
    FlayerSlayer , March 31, 2009 5:33 PM
    I had an old copy of Encarta on my Windows 3.1 machine, with system requirements like "256 color graphics and 4 mb of memory". It didn't even fill the CD. Honestly, that was the last time I used Encarta, and I wasn't even aware it was still around.
  • 0 Hide
    seboj , March 31, 2009 5:41 PM
    Maxor127 It was a good source, especially since our encyclopedia books were from the 60s, and it allowed me to cite sources for papers without having to go to the library back before the internet was popular.

    It's like you're me. Or maybe I'm you. Total Malkovich moment. :p 
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    mpasternak , March 31, 2009 6:12 PM
    I don't think i used Encarta since the the 90's. in todays age. it's just antiquated. Funny. I still have a full set of britannica Encyclopedias in my bookshelf i used more often though
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 31, 2009 7:01 PM
    When I think of Encarta I think of the 300 ReMix: "This... is... ENCARTA!!!" *Kick to chest* :3
  • 0 Hide
    warezme , March 31, 2009 9:25 PM
    that was my first encyclopedia on disk, I feel old now. My parents were amazed at how much information fit on one little disk.
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    sublifer , March 31, 2009 9:34 PM
    rigaudioNever mind, it was Britannica.

    I still liked the Where in Time is Carmen SanDiego reference. I had actually forgotten about that... Used to play it on my Tandy 1000 with 32KB of RAM and no hdd
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    hellwig , March 31, 2009 9:56 PM
    When I was in high school, we were actually forbidden from using Encarta as a reference for our papers. Probably because Encarta was written by a bunch of software people who didn't quote their own references, meaning anything you found in their wasn't verifiable. Newer Encarta's might have changed that, but the Encarta '97 was pretty worthless. Same with lots of Wikipedia references, but since I'm no longer in school, its not like I'm ever going to write reference papers again.
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