Students and other researchers soon will have one less reliable source for digital information: Microsoft Corp. is to exit its Encarta encyclopedia business later this year after losing ground over the years to freely available reference material on internet sites such as Wikipedia, Reuters reports. "People today seek and consume information in considerably different ways than in years past," the software maker said in a notice posted on its MSN web site. Microsoft, which slashed 5,000 jobs earlier this year to cut costs and warned that its profit and revenue would fall over the next two quarters, said it will stop selling Encarta software products by June.
Encarta web sites worldwide, except Encarta Japan, will be discontinued on October 31, and Encarta Japan will cease after December 31, the company said.

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