Like Death and Taxes, Clippy is Unavoidable

By  |  Friday, May 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Shamefully, I’ve neglected to cover the biggest news of the past couple of weeks. I refer, of course, to the return of Microsoft Office’s Clippy, in a game/tutorial from Microsoft called Office Hero 2. (Here’s James Fallows’ report on it.) ¬†Clippy may not be part of Office’s help system anymore, but here he is again, trying to help people use Office. I have the feeling he’ll be with us in one form or another for years to come. (Anyone want to make bets on whether he’ll outlive Mavis Beacon?)

Thinking about his return got me thinking about a Technologizer story from a couple of years ago: “The Secret Origins of Clippy: Microsoft’s Bizarre Animated Character Patents.” It remains one of the most popular things we’ve ever published. And here it is again.

 
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  1. AHHHHHGHEEELP!!!!! Says:

    HEEEE'S BAAAAACK AAAAAAGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

  2. AHHHHHGHEEELP!!!!! Says:

    Here's a partial MS response to Fallow's column:

    > If you have a few moments, you really should give the game a try – I think you'll be surprised how much fun you can have learning the features the Office team thinks people would like if only they knew about them. There are also many other moments of (dare I say) cleverness that people seem to enjoy embedded throughout the game.

    and my reply:

    > If you have a few years, you really should give designing an interface on which people can actually find what they're looking for a try – I think you'll be surprised how much fun you can have making products people would like if only the Office team would pull its heads out of its collective posteriors. Instead of trying to create "cleverness that people seem to enjoy" how about creating products that people actully find useful?