Microsoft Threatens to Return Clippy

After a PR stunt on Twitter, Microsoft brings back Clippy, the talking paperclip from early versions of Windows Office, as an emoji. It is one of the renewed ‘3d’ emoji in Microsoft 365.


Clippy is the “helpful” assistant known to an older generation of computer users from earlier versions of Microsoft Office. However, the talking cartoon paperclip had to make do with very rudimentary programming and rarely came on your screen with actually useful tips or suggestions.

The assistant first showed up in Office 97, where it enthusiastically interrupted your work to say that it looked like you were writing a letter while you were mainly trying to type on a thesis. In Office XP in 2001, Clippy had already disappeared, but the character did have a cultural impact in that short existence, best compared to that of a character like JarJar Binks.

And now Microsoft wants to bring back Clippy because, in 2021, it can also be added. Fortunately, this time it’s not about an AI assistant; even Microsoft doesn’t want to smear Cortana’s legacy so much. Instead, Clippy could become an emoji.

The tech company says in a tweet that Clippy may come back as an emoji if the tweet in question gets 20,000 ‘likes’. At the time of writing, the tweet has about 135,000 likes, making it one of the most popular tweets ever sent out by Microsoft’s corporate account.

Update 4.30 pm: Microsoft meanwhile announces Clippy as one of the refreshed 3D emoji for Microsoft 365. The figure will replace the emoji with a paper clip. The full range of updated emoji can be found here.

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