Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rest in Peace Microsoft Encarta

Microsoft announced this week it was shuttering its Encarta service. In the analysis about the decision, most people are rightly pointing out that Wikipedia simply made Encarta obsolete and ineffective by comparison. In effect, Wikipedia was the "Encarta-killer".

However, Encarta was one of the first steps in making the world's information freely available to everyone. Before Encarta, a set of encyclopedias cost thousands of dollars. Having a set was a beyond the reach of most people. Encarta came in and made all this information available to anyone for $60. Overnight, the economics of information changed. Encarta was the "Britannica- killer".

One of the transformative shifts in our society is that information is becoming free and widely available. Microsoft Encarta was an important step along the way as we move from information being expensive and scarce to free and plentiful. Rest in peace Encarta.

1 comment:

daveman said...

Kinda how like Pforce is the Monster.com killer?