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Microsoft Encarta Dies After Long Battle With Wikipedia

     
12:41 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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From NYTimes [bits.blogs.nytimes.com]:
Microsoft delivered the coup de grce 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...]

1:05 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Encarta was stuck in multimedia CD age - they've got 5.6 mln external backlinks and by comparison Wikipedia has got 1.7 bln, it's hardly suprising where all search traffic went.
1:36 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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While a free, text-oriented project like Wikipedia could not compete with the graphics and design of Encarta, that wasn’t important to consumers.

I think this quote says a lot about the future trends of the internet. Web designers take note! ;-)

1:41 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Now that Encarta will be gone soon, where will the writers of Wikipedia take the content from?

<g,d+r>

1:45 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Its time had come, but it is sad to see a historically important piece of software die.

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. :)

1:57 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I wouldn't be surprised if Micro$oft owned in full (or at least a part) the aforementioned "soundcard/speaker/cdrom" companies.

One crappy, bloated product down, several more to go...

Long live freeware !

2:23 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I actually used encarta pretty often 'back in the days', on my 486 dx4 100 mHz. Nowadays it's all wiki.

Ah well, it's ready for the museum I guess.

2:24 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Death of a monster, and the rise of another.

"Now that Encarta will be gone soon, where will the writers of Wikipedia take the content from?"

From all the decent content website's currently getting pillaged by the Wikipedia editors of course.

2:58 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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M$ should open source it just for fun - let loose the encarta clones , one last swipe at wikipedia.
3:03 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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indigojo, that would be nice. I, for one, have no problem paying for premium content. Fact checking is a nice thing. Wikipedia is great for stuff stolen off other websites and in my opinion that's ok for government stats or educational stuff but when it's hurting for-profit companies or data is junk because children are playing on Wikipedia... well, that's not cool. Also the founder of Wikipedia is a plagiarizer and an idiot.
3:53 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I, for one, have no problem paying for premium content.

Well, that makes one person. You are in the minority, which is why AdSense does pretty well these days. ;)

4:00 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Wikipedia is a vast wasteland. If I use it for anything, it's to examine their references and consider them. More often than not, at least in my field, the trash they plaster in their articles is a waste of time to read. It is occasionally, a near-decent source of public domain photos.

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.

4:26 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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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.
4:36 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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>Also the founder of Wikipedia is a plagiarizer and an idiot.

In the context of a discussion about a Microsoft product, this statement made my irony meter explode.

5:18 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Monopolies are never good, especially when it's widely known that this new monopoly called wikipedia and ran by a ροrnοgrapher only can offer unverified and non rigorous crap besides hurting everybody else's sites via content plagiarism or simply being unfairly helped by some search engines.

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.

5:19 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I think they should get a bailout.
5:37 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I remember using Encarta in the mid to late 90's in its day it was a great title
5:55 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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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.

7:07 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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>the minute they do that wikipedia will steal all its content

Frankly, Encarta is more theft-proof than a 1987 Impala with crash damage. Even one supporter described it as "careless about accuracy and timely updates."

7:18 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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MS wouldn't kill a product if had a chance to survive profitably in their control. If it didnt have overhead to produce timely and correct info then it could go as freeware. But as most of us know good imagery and tight editing are not cheap thus the outright plagiarism wikipedia writers are known for.
10:26 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Its a shame MSFT has to close this. I can think of 10 different ways msft could have leveraged this and maybe even beat wikipedia.

Just proves that msft still doesn't get "IT"

2:01 am on Apr 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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So MSN didn't "tweak" their Live results to point to Encarta?
2:11 am on Apr 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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On thinking on this overnight I'd bet that it gets picked up by some savvy dotcom NOT simply canned. I'd bet Google would love it in view of KNOL's dismal performance so far, although I'd doubt Steve would sell to the G Guys.
4:22 am on Apr 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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MS should open Encarta as a free site and put their own MS contextual ads on it. Would make a great testing center for their ad program development.

:P

4:51 am on Apr 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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What MS should do is give this to us posters in this thread, in return we will carry MSN Ads and split the profit with MSFT.

Its probably the best venture & ROI MSFT can get. At this point msft just lacks imagination to do anything else.

9:17 am on Apr 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Encarta never had Britannica's reputation.

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.

9:34 am on Apr 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I can think of 10 different ways msft could have leveraged this

Yep. and the real shame will be that there will be a lot of good information in there going to waste.

7:22 pm on Apr 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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>Encarta never had Britannica's reputation.

Funk and Wagnall's never had Britannica's reputation either. And justly so. Putting the same low-grade content online didn't change reality. Why should it change reputation?

7:32 am on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'd like to know where the mentality of "can't be number one so it's time to pack it in" comes from. If Encarta was profitable it should have continued plugging along at 1% market share, you don't shut it down just because you give up on becoming number one.

Shame.

Seb7

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.

edit:typo

[edited by: JS_Harris at 7:33 am (utc) on April 2, 2009]

1:58 am on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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>If Encarta was profitable ...

Who said it was profitable? Reportedly, none of Microsoft's internet enterprises have ever been profitable.

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32