Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

encartaMicrosoft's years-long-running multimedia CD-based encyclopedia product, Encarta, will be history by the end of the year. According to Ars Technica, Microsoft quietly announced the discontinuation date for Encarta to be October 31, 2009. Although the MSN press release doesn't go into too much detail on all the reasons why this decision was made, (nothing about Wikipedia for example), they do mention that the way people look for and consume information has changed substantially in the last few years, which seems like a fair assessment:

On October 31, 2009, MSN Encarta Web sites worldwide will be discontinued, with the exception of Encarta Japan, which will be discontinued on December 31, 2009. Additionally, Microsoft will cease to sell Microsoft Student and Encarta Premium software products worldwide by June 2009.

It appears that all Encarta properties will be phased out over the coming year. They will stop selling the retail and student versions by June and the online MSN Explorer content will be removed by the end of October. Customers paying for a subscription to Encarta Premium will receive a pro-rated refund around the middle of the year. Technical support, like with most other Microsoft products, will continue for three years after the official end of life.