Who remembers Microsoft’s Clippy character? First launched way back on Office 97, Clippy would offer tips and hints about using Office services. While it arguably aided Office newcomers, the service was mostly disruptive, distracting, and unlikeable (sorry Clippy fans).
Microsoft ended Clippy’s life with the release of Office XP just a few years later in 2001. Office was getting smarter and more focused, using takes panes and help windows.
Interestingly, Microsoft has never officially killed off Clippy. To prove the point, Microsoft reinstated the tool on Tuesday, although it was no longer a paperclip but was instead a pack of stickers on Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft later released the stickers on the Office developer GitHub page for Teams users to use in chat windows. For some reason, Clippy’s return was short lived as it was removed from GitHub a day later.
“Clippy has been trying to get his job back since 2001, and his brief appearance on GitHub was another attempt,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “While we appreciate the effort, we have no plans to bring Clippy to Teams.”
The Verge reports the reason Microsoft removed Clippy is because someone in the company nixed the idea due to the branding. It seems Clippy is something of a taboo name in the halls of Redmond. Whether that’s because Microsoft prefers to look to the future, or knowns how much users disliked the helper when it was first launched 20 years ago.
Fans have now started a petition in an effort to bring Clippy back from the dead once again. Considering this is in the Microsoft feedback page, it will be interesting to see what the company does. Microsoft typically responds to feedback so let’s see if Clippy returns once more.