Geek Trivia

The Code Name For Microsoft Encarta Was?

Billy Goat
Deep Brain
The Phone Books On Which Of These Islands Include Nicknames For Citizens?

Answer: Gandalf

Encarta was both Microsoft’s answer to the question “Who will build a digital encyclopedia?” and a reaction to Encyclopedia Britannica’s rejection of Bill Gate’s offer to partner with them to do so.

Although most people associate Encarta with the disc-based releases of the digital encyclopedia system in the 1990s, work actually began on the project back in 1985 under the code name “Gandalf”.

Initially, Encarta sold very poorly and made small gains against some of the early competitors in the market. In a ploy to boost sales Microsoft slashed the price to $99 for the entire set for the 1993 holiday season and Encarta finally got the handhold it needed. By the end of the season it had sold 350,000 units and by the end of the next year it had sold over a million units.

Encarta reigned supreme over the CD-ROM based encyclopedia market throughout the 1990s and is widely considered to be responsible for the death of popular printed encyclopedia sets like the Encyclopedia Britannica Bill Gates had originally wanted to partner with.

In turn, Encarta was killed off by web-based content like Wikipedia and despite a shift towards a web-based Encarta, the entire program was discontinued in 2009.