Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) first created Encarta in 1993 when they purchased the non-exclusive rights to the Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia. Microsoft initially approached Encyclopædia Britannica when they first started but that company believed providing print media sales would be hurt through the partnership.
Microsoft usually had on average between 50,000-70,000 encyclopedia entries within their Encarta software. Since then Microsoft integrated the service into Windows Live Messenger and Live.com. But now it is the end of the Encarta era. Microsoft announced that they will cease development for the product in October. Encarta Japan will run until the end of the year.
“Encarta has been a popular product around the world for many years,” wrote Microsoft in a statement. “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.”
Many people prefer online encyclopedia resources such as Wikipedia and Dictionary.com.