Microsoft Encarta was a digital multimedia encyclopedia published by Microsoft Corporation from 1993 to 2009. As of 2008, the complete English version, Encarta Premium, consisted of more than 62,000 articles, numerous photos and illustrations, music clips, videos, interactive contents, timelines, maps and atlas, and homework tools, and was available on the World Wide Web by yearly subscription or by purchase on DVD or multiple CDs. Many articles could also be viewed online free of charge, a service supported by advertisements.
Microsoft published similar encyclopedias under the Encarta trademark in various languages, including German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese. Localized versions may contain contents licensed from available national sources and may contain more or less content than the full English version. For example, the Dutch version has content from the Dutch Winkler Prins encyclopedia.
In March 2009, Microsoft announced it was discontinuing the Encarta disc and online versions. The MSN Encarta site in all countries except Japan was closed on October 31, 2009. Japan's Encarta site was closed on December 31, 2009. The Encarta online dictionary at dictionary.msn.com continues to be operated by Microsoft.