Microsoft Encarta succumbs to Wikipedia

Well, it was a long time coming, but here it is.

Do you remember what came in between printed encyclopedias and Wikipedia Wikipedia reviews? For many, the answer is Microsoft Encarta, which was distributed starting in the 90s via CD-ROM and more recently on the Web via MSN. Today, Microsoft announced that it’s discontinuing Encarta later this year, offering symbolic confirmation that Wikipedia is the world’s definitive reference guide.

Microsoft acknowledges as such in an FAQ they’ve setup explaining the move and what existing Encarta customers can expect. The company writes, “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.”

That’s quite the understatement. As PaidContent points out, the crowd-edited Wikipedia boasts 2.7 million entries in English versus just 42,000 for Encarta. Need further confirmation of why Wikipedia is simply a better model? News of Encarta’s discontinuation has already reached the product’s entry on Wikipedia.