Call it a victim of the Internet and such sites as Wikipedia, but Microsoft has announced that the end of Encarta will come on October 31, 2009. This just happens to be my birthday so if anyone wants to know what to buy me, make sure it is not Encarta. LOL I am surprised that Encarta held on for so long. The traditional encyclopedia is no longer needed with the advent of the Internet and the amount of information online.

In a statement from Microsoft they detail the closing of the Encarta web site as well:

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.
With Internet access becoming more readily available, the decision to shut down Encarta is a no brainer. Others have already exited the encyclopedia business.
Comments welcome.