Quite supprised to see the end of the MS Encarta range of software and websites. I think Encarta was one of the 1st CD-ROMs I ever owned. Looks like Wikipedia is winning!
The rest of this article is taken from the Microsoft Encarta FAQs
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. We understand that Encarta users may have questions regarding this announcement so we have prepared this list of questions and answers below. Please keep reading if you would like more information about these changes to Encarta.
Why are these Encarta Web sites and software products being discontinued?
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. As part of Microsoft’s goal to deliver the most effective and engaging resources for today’s consumer, it has made the decision to exit the Encarta business.
Microsoft’s vision is that everyone around the world needs to have access to quality education, and we believe that we can use what we’ve learned and assets we’ve accrued with offerings like Encarta to develop future technology solutions. In doing so, we feel strongly that we are making the right investments that will help make our vision a reality.
When are these Encarta Web sites and software products being discontinued?
MSN Encarta worldwide (except Japan) will be discontinued on October 31, 2009. MSN Encarta Japan will be discontinued on December 31, 2009. After these specified dates, the Web sites will no longer be available.
Microsoft Student and Encarta Premium software products are also being discontinued. Microsoft will stop making them available for sale by June 2009