Of course, there are alternatives–lots of them (which may help explain Microsoft‘s decision). Here’s a list of four other places you can learn about Ghandi, the Revolutionary War, the Eiffel Tower, and other encyclopedic subjects:
Britannica You can browse loads of content here, but expect a lot of pop-ups entreating you to sign up for a Premium Membership ($69.95 annually). Thankfully, there’s a free 7-day trial.
Encyclopedia.com A search engine that culls from over 100 sources, including The Columbia Encyclopedia, The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English, and A Dictionary of Food Nutrition. Search results can be a little busy, but you can’t argue with the price: It’s all free.
Wikipedia A-doy. I have to admit, this is usually the first place I turn when seeking information, despite frequently being disappointed with the results.
World Book Online Unlike Britannica, WBO offers 3-day and 1-month subscriptions in addition to the annual option; prices are $3.95, $9.95, and $49.95, respectively. Alas, you get very little free material, so subscribing is all but mandatory.
Where do you go when you want to look stuff up? If you know of a better online resource, let me know by leaving a comment below!