No April fools joke this. In October 2009, Microsoft will cease to offer their MSN Encarta Web sites worldwide, (with the exception of Encarta Japan, which will be discontinued on December 31, 2009.)
Microsoft have placed a notice on their MSN Encarta FAQ page:
Additionally, Microsoft will cease to sell Microsoft Student and Encarta Premium software products worldwide by June 2009!
So if you are looking for a web based/DVD encyclopedia I would head on over to the good folks at Encyclopedia Britannica.
Marc Liron – Microsoft MVP