Back in the day when I actually *did* stuff, I used to design and produce multimedia CD-ROMS for some big book publishing companies. On pretty tight budgets, we’d play with quicktime videos and hack Macromedia Director scripts to turn out something that was glued to the front of a big illustrated reference book. The publisher, of course, wanted something with all the bells and whistles – something like Encarta, they’d always say. Of course, with a team of a very few, it’s pretty difficult to compete with the big M. Today, news from the wire that Encarta itself can no longer compete. Whilst the move from printed encyclopedia to digital is pretty well complete; the consequential shift from branded CD-ROM/DVD-ROM publication to ‘whatever’s in the cloud’ is apparently upon us. From the New York Times:

THIS is the end of the line for Encarta, the encyclopedia that Microsoft introduced in 1993 and still describes boastfully on its Web site as “the No. 1 best-selling encyclopedia software brand for the past eight years.” Microsoft recently announced that sales would soon cease and that the Encarta Web site, supported by advertising, would be shut down later this year.


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