Dec 10, 2009

What Antique Dealers Can Learn From Encyclopedia Britannica

photo courtesy of
In 1993, Encyclopedia Britannica had the most profitable year in the company's history. Two years later, the company was nearly bankrupt and was sold for below book value. What happened in those two years? Most folks would say that Britannica was done in by Microsoft Encarta. In 1993, Microsoft purchased rights to the Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia, created an electronic version, changed the name to Encarta, and began bundling Encarta with new computers. Encarta could be purchased off-the-shelf for around $50. Britannica sold for around $1200. Competition from Encarta killed Britannica.