I can’t tell you how sad i am to see Encarta being discontinued. Its the end of something so wonderful, just the thought of it makes me fly back in my memories of those days when i first got a copy of Encarta, and i used to go through it just because there was nothing else to do with the computer. There was no internet connection, so no access to anything interesting and Encarta was like my own knowledge bank. As per MSN, Encarta and its website will be discontinued from October 31st, 2009.
Encarta, as people remember was something that appealed to people who used to read from printed encyclopedias. Such a vast amount of information on one or two cds was something so shocking and at the same time technologically advanced. Encarta started out as a software available on a CD, but as everything moved online, Encarta too started out as an online service, all the time continuing its digital version on DVD’s. These 15 odd years of giving out knowledge and information so unique and updated, might have helped millions of kids and adults. But the discontinuation of Encarta raises the question whether it should done a ‘Wikipedia’ long ago, before being unable to take the competition from it. Compared to the millions of articles Wikipedia has, Encarta has only thousands. I personally haven’t used the Encarta service since i got a proper internet connection, as the information available on Encarta was comparatively static in nature.
Microsoft says that the tradition of encyclopedias has changed in a distinct manner, and they had to close down shop since they couldn’t see a viable business model any longer. However they go on to say that they will offer something far more developed and advanced than what Encarta offered, and this investment will make the Microsoft vision of giving quality education to those who need it through Encarta change to a certain extent. However Encarta Japan will stay open will December 31st, 2009 and after these specified dates, the websites will no longer be available for access. Also the people who have a subscription after April 2009 will be refunded through their credit cards and will be done so, 2-3 days around that date. To sum it up, internet has truly opened up all the barriers. But the old school services are slowly shutting down one by one, serving as a “side effect”. There goes another good childhood memory of mine…..