An Old Mascot Springs Back Up From Obscurity

It seems that Microsoft has plans to bring “Clippy” back from retirement, this time in the form of an emoji.

The software megacompany’s extremely polarizing digital assistant, which was a mainstay on all versions of Microsoft Office before 2003, was very much hated by a large majority of the userbase.

As reported by CNET back in 2002:

Microsoft is hoping to appeal to customers with a less-obtrusive, easier to use version of the suite. In Office XP, Microsoft plans to hide the Clippy character tool from view and help people in a less obtrusive manner.

“Not one person in my office, from the receptionist to the sales people to the engineers to the CEO use the blasted paper clip. Not even my wife, who is an elementary school teacher, uses it,” Ketan Deshpande, senior software engineer at Manage.com, wrote in an e-mail to News.com. “In less time than it took MS to put this Web site together, they could have pulled the dumb clip out of their software.”

Seemingly in direct spite of the presence of deep-seated contempt, Microsoft is aiming to give Clippy yet another chance at life. The company plans to start replacing its paperclip emoji with an image of the character.

“When we looked at redesigning the paper clip, we thought, ‘How could you not?’” stated Claire Anderson, the Microsoft art director and “emojiologist,” stated in an interview with CNN Business. “It’s a way of honoring where we’ve come from as we also look at a new tech style. … But like most nostalgic things, we know Clippy can be polarizing.”

As stated in an announcement about the upcoming new emojis from Microsoft, Anderson said: “We had to use this opportunity to make a change that only we could truly make — so long flat, standard paperclip, and hello Clippy! Sure, we may use fewer paper clips today than we did in Clippy’s heyday, but we couldn’t resist the nostalgic pull.”

In a tweet that went out this past Wednesday, Microsoft hinted at an upcoming decision: “If this gets 20k likes, we’ll replace the paperclip emoji in Microsoft 365 with Clippy.”

As reported by CNN, Microsoft is unveiling even more updated emojis:

It’s also adding five new emojis to capture the many moods and challenges of working from home: a “you’re on mute” emoji, an image of someone multitasking with their arms going everywhere, a “business on top and pajamas on bottom” emoji, someone with a cat in front of the screen and a person holding a baby.

Microsoft also conducted a study that found 57% of people believe emojis in the workplace are professional and help humanize conversations. Emojis are often used as tools to lighten or intensify tones, express playfulness or enhance expression.

 

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