Ah Clippy. If you’re old enough to remember the guy, you’ll probably also remember just how bad having Clippy pop up while working was. And now, Microsoft might actually be bringing him back.
Microsoft’s ubiquitous virtual assistant first debuted back in Microsoft Office 97, and was almost unanimously panned for being one of the most annoying features in the Office suite of programs. Eventually, he was removed by the time Office 2007 came around, but is still often remembered as one of the worst design decisions by Microsoft (arguably worse than Windows 8). Today though Microsoft tweeted out that if they got 20,000 likes on their tweet, they’ll replace the paperclip emoji in Microsoft 365 with Clippy.
Perhaps it’s nostalgia or because they’re just making it emoji and not a full-fledged assistant, it quickly got the 20,000 likes it called for. In fact, at time of writing, Microsoft’s tweet has garnered over 123,000 likes. It could of course also just be Microsoft bluffing, and tweeting out Clippy as a way to get engagement with their followers. But when The Verge’s Tom Warren called them out on it, Microsoft simply gave this cryptic reply:
This isn’t the first time though that Microsoft has brought back Clippy—full name Clippit—from the dead. He infamously appeared again as the Office Assistant in Microsoft Office Online back in 2014 as part of Microsoft’s April Fool’s Day joke. He was also in a preview version of the Windows Phone 8.1. You’ll still find references to him in modern day virtual assistants too. Ask Google Assistant if they know Clippy, and they’ll respond with “Clippy? Clippy is legendary”, while Siri and Cortana have their own easter eggs too.
Personally, I didn’t find Clippy that bad, although to be fair I was still a child when he was around. Besides, Microsoft’s only threatening to bring him back as an emoji and not to replace Cortana…. right?
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