Microsoft is reportedly killing off Encarta websites and software products. The FAQ on the Encarta website tells the reasons as:
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.
While I didn’t think people still use other encyclopedias when we have Wikipedia, it seems to be the right move by Microsoft. The mention of using assets accrued with Encarta to develop future technology solutions does seem like Microsoft might come up with some replacement soon enough, but hey, don’t take my word on it. Encarta Japan would be discontinued on December 31, 2009 while for the rest of the world, it’ll be discontinued no October 31.
I still would love to see the dictionary survive this killing of services. I’ve used the dictionary feature a lot, and an Internet Explorer accelerator to accompany that service would have been a wish come true for me.