back to article Microsoft solicits Clippy comeback – later reveals it had already decided to bring back the peppy paperclip

Microsoft has turned to the "wisdom" of the Instagram crowd and Twitter to seek permission to restore its much-reviled Office Assistant "Clippy" to a place of prominence. The software giant on Wednesday challenged Instagram users to like the post depicted below a mere 200,000 times and it would then "replace the paperclip …

  1. FozzyBear

    The wisdom of Instgram, Clippy, Office 365

    I took me a moment to realise something was different. Yep it was that last tiny spark of hope i had left, just went out.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      (De)face it

      The youngsters Microsoft is trying to attract view it as a cuter icon.

      Those who remember (and aren't dead yet) will view it with horror.

      Those of us who use LibreOffice will chuckle.

  2. Little Mouse

    "Oh how we laughed and laughed, except I wasn't laughing..."

    There's always one blinkered tit who thinks their past boorish behaviour is "funny"...

    1. Huw L-D

      Re: "Oh how we laughed and laughed, except I wasn't laughing..."

      "There's always one blinkered tit who thinks their past boorish behaviour is "funny"..."

      There's more than one... <cough>Bullingdon Club</cough>

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: "Oh how we laughed and laughed, except I wasn't laughing..."

        But somehow it gets you into the top jobs:

        "Boris Johnson’s government is under fire after one of the prime minister’s university friends – a former Bullingdon Club member – was handed a role on Whitehall’s sleaze watchdog.

        Ewen Fergusson, a member of Oxford’s infamous dining club at the same time as the prime minister, has been named as one of two new members for the committee on standards in public life."

        1. Swiss Anton
          IT Angle

          Re: "Oh how we laughed and laughed, except I wasn't laughing..."

          Down vote because your comment is not IT related.

  3. Chris G

    Not only do Mshaft provide us with 'features' we have little desire or need for, they make it increasingly difficult to negate or remove said features by moving everything around, changing the name or description of things etc.

    Since 10 made it's appearance I have been steadily finding ways to disable and remove clutter, now notwithstanding 'features' that appear after updates, I almost have 10 how I want it.

    So now I have 11 to look forward to as a new challenge, except I won't, my new challenge is likely to be linux.

    1. NetBlackOps

      I was rather surprised that I prefer 11 over 10. Still a mess in there Start Menu, but Microsoft isn't going to let mere users own it, should they choose, as that is antithetical to corporate control.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft's Telemetry. The Scottish phrase 'clipe' clearly had historic meaning.

    Snitch; as in , "Don't be a wee clipe".

  5. jake Silver badge

    I doubt it.

    "meaning Clippy is all-but-assured of returning to your desktop."

    Your desktop, perhaps, but certainly not mine.

    Life's too short to be intentionally dealing with Redmond's broken-by-designware.

  6. da39a3ee5e6b4b0d3255bfef95601890afd80709

    Up there with moving Outlook calendar buttons

    This nonsense is up there with moving the Outlook calendar buttons way over to the right of Outlook, miles away from the relevant appointment data your eyes need to know which button you want. How do they qualify "what users want"? It's clear, apparently. A mere 20k of Twitter upvotes and they change the experience of the entire customer base. Wow. The contempt for user experience is palpable.

    1. My-Handle

      Re: Up there with moving Outlook calendar buttons

      Several years ago, I was working as a software developer for a large multi-national company. A project was spawned somewhere at mid-management level to overhaul a largely automated process and make it more manual (despite the opposite being done 2 or 3 years ago, saving the company hundreds of thousands of pounds in labour costs). The middle manager championing this change declared that "it was what the customer wanted".

      I went straight for the throat. I asked if he'd done any customer surveys. He hadn't. I asked if he'd gone through the analytics data and found any trends. He hadn't. I asked if he'd spoken to any customers, or even to customer services who were in pretty close contact with customers. Of course, he hadn't. So I then asked, very forcefully, how he had come to the conclusion that this was what the customer wanted. It turned out that, it was just what he thought the customer wanted. As a point of note, the manager in question had something of a reputation for screwing up every project he touched, yet he still managed to stick around.

      Though the project never made any more headway in the year or so before I left, it was still alive when I departed.

  7. Christoph

    When they made it possible to write your own animations for clippy, I didn't see any at all. No alternative graphics, no joke graphics, not even any pornographic ones!. Nobody at all was interested in the slightest.

    1. jake Silver badge

      "not even any pornographic ones"

      Unfortunately, you are incorrect ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That sounds like a painful read, in more ways than one.

        "Hi I'm Clippy, It looks like you had an erotic thought. Would you like help with that?".

        Paperclips clearly don't just get lost in office printers and {ahem}, stop them working.

      2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

        Rule 34

        No exceptions!

  8. RyokuMas

    Whatever next???

    Clippy's coming back? Wow, what will they think of next - 3D skuomorphic UI instead of FLATTY MCFLATSO???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whatever next???

      I do sort of miss the wooden bookshelf on an iPad, for ebooks. I know, it's just me...

      What replaced it, was pretty meh.

  9. nobby

    the horror, the horror

    The feeling of sheer, petrifying horror that pervades my being when I see that be-eyebrow'd paper clip can only be imagined by the people who weren't there at the time.

    This is like realising that you can't kill Dracula, or that the Zombies will _always_ come back... Or that Aunt Alice will bring round her lemon drizzle cake.. again... (twitch)

    Those 127k upticks are like 127k stabs to my very being.

    I'm shivering now, I have the sweats... I don't know if I'll be able to continue working today this has simply....

    the horror,


    the horror

  10. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Isn't there already a Turd emoticon?

    1. Chris G

      Ah! But has it been polished and beglittered?

      No? Well I expect Mshaft think theirs is.

  11. Nathar Leichoz

    Next step for Micro$oft is to change the dog emoji to Rocky/Rover.


  12. Just Enough

    Clippy says..

    "It looks like you are writing a publicity stunt for what you hope is a slow news day. Would you like some help with that?"

  13. HammerOn1024

    As with Disco...

    Things have their time and Clippy, the abomination, should stay 6 ft. under and well tapped down.

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Re: As with Disco...

      Buried head downwards at a crossroads

  14. crispert


    Maybe they should also rename the company McLippysoft.

  15. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Dad at the disco

    Thinking he's hanging out with all the cool Instagram kids, whilst they laugh at his creaky moves and find more confirmation that he's past it.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Seems perfectly reasonable

    Given that the Unicode for the paperclip character is U+1F4CE I think that every font should put a face onto their paperclip glyph. :-)

  17. Pirate Dave Silver badge


    All I can say is - Microsoft finally found their target audience for Clippy...

  18. ShadowSystems

    Fuck Clippy.

    With a pair of wire cutters.

    And a Dremmel tool.

    And an arc welder.


    With extreme prejudice.

    And keep it up until the corpse is too dismembered to reanimate.

    And if anyone tries to reassemble it, give Clippy some company in the disection party.

    Clippy is the SCO of productivity.

  19. mark l 2 Silver badge

    So now Clippy is to return as an emoji, what it is supposed to represent? A person who annoying tries to give advise when none was needed or requested?

  20. Dwarf


    Well, if they are focusing on cruft that does nothing to help anyone then we all know why Win10 is such a bag of spanners.

    Surely though they replaced clippy with Cortana, before removing both as nobody was interested.

    How about they start other similar requests for things that might actually matter, Oh, I don't know, off the top of my head.

    Removing the ribbon and going back to proper menus

    Removing the start menu and going back to proper user structured menus -- ie how my brain is wired, not long alphanumeric lists of all the crap on my computer.

    Having a border between windows so you can see where they start and stop, rather than having to play guess the pixel to stretch a window

    Dumping the pointless store

    Dumping SecureBoot, forced updates and telemetry - its my PC to run what I want on and you can keep your nose out.

    Dumping all the force fed advertising / pointless crapware - I don't want edge trying to become my browser from the start menu, or some stupid game that I never asked for. If you have to make something hard to remove, then you already know that people don't want it.

    Making the search box go to my preferred browser search page as configured in the OS, not hard wired to some forced Microsoft one.

    Hint - if you make it good, then we will use it. If you try and force it down our throats then I can guaranteed that we can be more stubborn than you.

  21. a_yank_lurker


    Bringing Clippy back is an insult to users who just want their damn Bloatware as a Disservice/Disgrace and Orifice to work. I would rather the Rejects of Redmond fixed their crap than bring back an evil insult.

  22. Eclectic Man Silver badge


    Just that, "Noooooooooooooooo", please God, noooooooooooooooo.

    I used to have nightmares about how to get rid of clippy from my daily grind, sorry life affirming work, of 'You seem to be writing a document of some sort would you like me to completely screw it up for you?' Because, and no offence to any USAfolk reading this, I'm English / British, so don't want Microsoft's version of USA spelling, USA formatting or USA grammar.

    So just:


    Realising that my tinfoil had really needs refurbishing.

    1. a_yank_lurker

      Re: Noooooooooooooooo!

      I am on the other side of the Pond and do not want the Rejects of Redmond to screw up my documents. I assume they would use UK spellings, etc. for me because they are morons.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Noooooooooooooooo!

        Some of them have been working in Office because when I open a template document, and add couple of lines and save it as a new file, EVERY TIME I OPEN THE TEMPLATE IT WELCOMES ME BACK....fuck! why?

        And yesterday, the fucking weather app in the task bar. Surely the fucking developers would have made the installer check and see if there was ANY OTHER CRAP enabled BEFORE TURNING IT ON.

  23. ElPedro100

    So sad that they are basing their decisions on what Twatter and Instagram (aka Farcebook) users want instead of asking real people. "Oh, yes, let's have a new icon that we can send to all of our imaginary friends who are only our friends because they are as stupid as we are!". I genuinely dispair for the future of humanity unless "social media" is banned from influencing important matters like the abomination that was Clippy. Let her (or him) RIP.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clippy, Cockup Cortana and C**ts all begin with a C. Coincidence? Unlikely.

  25. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

    Excellent troll job by Microsoft

    See, we can get them to upvote _anything_.

    1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

      Re: Excellent troll job by Microsoft

      it's amusing that an MS troll has apprently gone through these comments and downvoted any of them that poke at Microsoft (which, yeah, that's pretty much all of them). They all have exactly 1 downvote. Must be somebody from the original Clippy dev team still reading El Reg.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Excellent troll job by Microsoft

        Conversely I have upvoted more posts on this story than in any other I have seen on the Register (including yours, dear Mr Pirate Dave). But only because you pointed this out first.

        I wonder whether the Register's Sysadmin team could find out who it was and have a quiet word with them???

        1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

          Re: Excellent troll job by Microsoft

          Nah, that would kill the fun of trying to guess who the troll is. That's the closest we get these days to the FotW...

          1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

            Re: Excellent troll job by Microsoft

            Well, after 16 hours my post has been thumbed down, but another post which is, at the moment, 11 hours old has not been thumbed down. I assume therefore that the person is checking new posts and downvoting new ones on a daily basis. Let's see if (s)he logs in over the weekend.

            Troll icon 'coz that appears to be what we are dealing with.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like