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Microsoft Encarta is a discontinued digital multimedia encyclopedia published by Microsoft from 1993 to 2009. Originally sold on CD-ROM or DVD, it was also available online via annual subscription, although later articles could also be viewed for free online with advertisements.[1] By 2008, the complete English version, Encarta Premium, consisted of more than 62,000 articles,[2] numerous photos and illustrations, music clips, videos, interactive content, timelines, maps, atlases and homework tools.

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Microsoft Encarta
Final release
2009 / August 2008; 14 years ago (2008-08)
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows
Available inEnglish, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Japanese
LicenseProprietary commercial software
WebsiteFormerly encarta.msn.com at the Wayback Machine (archived October 31, 2009)

Microsoft published similar encyclopedias under the Encarta trademark in various languages, including German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese. Localized versions contained contents licensed from national sources and more or less content than the full English version. For example, the Dutch-language version had content from the Dutch Winkler Prins encyclopedia.[3]

In March 2009, Microsoft announced it was discontinuing both the Encarta disc and online versions. The MSN Encarta site was closed on October 31, 2009, in all countries except Japan, where it was closed on December 31, 2009.[4][5] Microsoft continued to operate the Encarta online dictionary until 2011.[6]