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Microsoft delivered the coup de grâce Monday to its dying Encarta encyclopedia, acknowledging what everyone else realized long ago: it just couldnt compete with Wikipedia, a free, collaborative project that has become the leading encyclopedia on the Web. In January, Wikipedia got 97 percent of the visits that Web surfers in the United States made to online encyclopedias, according to the Internet ratings service Hitwise. Encarta was second, with 1.27 percent.
See also: [encarta.msn.com...]
I remember Encarta being one of the huge drivers of the multimedia era in the mid 90s. Tons of folks were running out and buying $300 soundcard/speaker/cdrom combo kits from local computer stores for their 486s just to run Encarta. :)
Too bad about Encarta. I never used it though. Books are something I can trust, and are easily identifiable sources I can discuss with others in the real world. If I don't own a book on something I'm studying, well, public libraries are underrated. It's good to get out.
M$ should open source it just for fun - let loose the encarta clones, one last swipe at wikipedia.
That sounds like a great idea, unfortunately the minute they do that wikipedia will steal all its content and upload to its site killing any good intention. If I were MS, I would try and sell encarta, it's a great, reliable and rigorous project not an amateurish, built by know-it-all people thing like wipikedia. Marketed to the right people it could be a great product, Britannica's still around.
Humans get what they deserve. Yes, a collective effort, the mass is stupid and a mass thing like wipikedia is and will be really stupid.
ahh; the mashup wins again; there's no way encarta's subjective digital version of dusty stacks could compete with a collective resource such as wikipedia.
Suppose it was free?
I agree with previous posters, they should try it as a free service for a while before they scrap all that content. Why not?
I don't think it's the crowdsource that beat Encarta, I think it's the price... Well the price and the fact that the lack of login at wikipedia means it gets spidered.
Only microsoft would take all that content offline without finding out what would happen if it was opened up to spiders.
The problem with Wikipedia is not just content theft, but also that there are many people who use it as there primary source of reference, and believe whatever it says, and keep linking to it, so that Wikipedia articles rank regardless of merit.
My biggest phrase has been pushed from first to second place in the UK SERPS by a very badly written Wikipedia article.
I recently found two articles that were cut and pasted from my site (without attribution), but Wikipedia editors removed them before I got round to complaining, which was nice.
Yep. and the real shame will be that there will be a lot of good information in there going to waste.
It won't go to waste, far too many scrapers look for sites freshly offline to re-use the content.
[edited by: JS_Harris at 7:33 am (utc) on April 2, 2009]