Microsoft Encarta Provides Fun Features to a New Generation of Students

REDMOND, Wash., July 7, 2004 — For more than a decade, Microsoft® Encarta®
has helped inquisitive minds realize the educational benefits of technology, and this year it is extending the focus to the youngest generation of learners. Today, Microsoft Corp. unveils Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005, the newest version of the best-selling reference library in the United States.1 With cool new content tailored specifically for elementary-aged children and helpful homework tools, Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 is a comprehensive, current and trustworthy source of information for learners of all ages.

It may be years until they can drive a car, but U.S. school children are already speeding along the information superhighway in their quest for education. In fact, 53 percent of elementary school children with home access to the Internet complete schoolwork with online resources.2 As technology continues to attract ever-younger audiences, Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 includes Encarta Kids, new content designed from the ground up with a younger audience in mind.

“Access to information is critical for everyone in the household, but especially for young learners,” said Ray Boggs, research analyst at IDC. “Technology has been reshaping K–12 education in schools and is having an increasingly important impact at home. The new Kids content provided in the latest version of Encarta will benefit teachers and parents, as well as the youngest students.”

In addition to providing new content for children as young as seven, Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 also focuses on expanding content for middle and high school students with an addition to the popular Homework Center. New Online Math Homework Help provides step-by-step instructions and hints for solving math problems on everything from basic multiplication to linear equations. Students can either browse by category — Basic Math, Algebra, Advanced Algebra and Geometry — or find tutorial solutions for the homework problems found in many textbooks used in the classroom.

“Our research clearly identified that math classes are responsible for the largest volume of homework when compared to other courses. Not only that, it’s a huge source of frustration for students — and parents too!” said Karla Tharin, product manager for the Microsoft Encarta product line at Microsoft. “We know parents aren’t always able to act as teacher and tutor, so we are thrilled to offer a service that gives students the building blocks they need to succeed in their math classes.”

Math Homework Help is a service provided through MSN®
Encarta Premium, and Encarta will provide a free subscription good through Oct. 31, 2005, included in Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005. The free subscription also offers students access to Encarta encyclopedia content, Homework Tools and other Encarta services from any PC with an Internet connection.

Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005, available in DVD-ROM and CD-ROM versions, includes the following new and updated features:

  • New!
    Encarta Kids. New Encarta Kids engages and educates the youngest generation of students (age seven and up) with fun, educational content. Encarta Kids uses pictures, large icons, interactive games and a simple, colorful interface to encourage exploration and discovery. The edition includes more than 500 new articles and extensive multimedia content organized into 10 categories including Animals, Everyday Life, History and Science.

  • New!
    Online Math Homework Help , available through MSN Encarta Premium, provides step-by-step instructions and hints for solving math problems involving everything from basic multiplication to linear equations.

  • New!
    Encarta Search Bar makes it faster and easier than ever for students to get focused and relevant results. The search bar appears in the Windows®
    task pane even when Encarta is closed, so students always have access to the Encarta database.

  • Ever-changing!
    Update Encarta. Update Encarta provides users with current information to help ensure their work is timely and accurate. With the click of a mouse, consumers can seamlessly download up-to-date articles, statistics, news, Web links and other information directly into content articles. Update Encarta offers fresh content at least once a week to keep content current as the world changes.

Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 also includes the following:

  • Premium Homework Center. In addition to the new Online Math Homework Help, the Homework Center includes carefully crafted questions, tips and information to help students and teachers plan, organize and complete assignments on a variety of subjects.

  • Homework Starters, Encarta Researcher, Literature Guides, Chart Maker, Book of Quotations, Curriculum Guide

  • Discovery Channel videos. The Encarta Reference Library Premium DVD 2005 contains 32 Discovery Channel videos; the Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 CD contains 20. Topics range from life on Mars to the evolution of birds to how stars are born and die in space.

  • Encarta 3-D Visual Browser uses 3-D animation to help users navigate the many exciting articles and extensive multimedia library.

Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 also features Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 2005; Encarta World English Dictionary, Thesaurus and translation dictionary; Encarta Interactive World Atlas; award-winning Encarta Africana; more than 68,000 editor-reviewed articles; multimedia content including live access to radio, news and weather reports; virtual maps, tours and timelines; charts and graphs; current statistics; games; and much more. Encarta Reference Library 2004 has also earned the Good Housekeeping Seal, marking the first time this type of consumer home software product has been recognized by the prestigious Good Housekeeping Institute.


Microsoft Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 DVD and CD are scheduled for availability in July 2004 for an estimated retail price of $69.99 (U.S.). Microsoft offers a $20 (U.S.) mail-in rebate to qualified customers.3 Volume discounts may apply for schools, colleges and libraries.

About Microsoft Home Retail Division

Microsoft Home Retail Division (HRD) is a leading publisher of home software for the PC. Celebrating Microsoft’s 20 years of delivering products that help consumers accomplish and enjoy everyday tasks, HRD brings consumers Microsoft Encarta, the industry’s best-selling encyclopedia brand;4 Microsoft Digital Image products, which combine advanced photo-editing features and unmatched organizational tools with unparalleled ease of use; Microsoft Money, easy-to-use personal finance management software; Streets & Trips, Microsoft’s all-in-one mapping solution with points of interest, routes, driving directions and Pocket PC compatibility in one value-priced software package; and Microsoft Works Suite, the best-selling5 integrated home productivity software that offers six of the latest essential home software titles in one package for tremendous value. Used with the MSN network of Internet services, these products have a unique depth and mobility that allow users to take their PC experience even further.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

1 NPD TechworldSM, March 1993–May 2004, based on total U.S. retail sales

2 IDC, 2000

3 Actual retail price may vary. Certain rebate offer details apply.

4 The NPD Group/NPD Techworld®
, March 1993–April 2004. Based on total U.S. retail sales.

5 The NPD Group/NPD Techworld, October 1998–May 2004. Based on total U.S. retail sales.

Microsoft, Encarta, MSN and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at .

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