Clippy—Microsoft’s Most Hated Helper—Is Ready to Make a Comeback (Sort Of)

Do more with the letter?
Do more with the letter? / Techquickie, YouTube

On July 14, Microsoft tweeted a picture of Clippy with the caption “If this gets 20k likes, we’ll replace the paperclip emoji in Microsoft 365 with Clippy.”

As reports, Twitter users rose to the occasion spectacularly—the tweet currently numbers nearly 175,000 likes—and Microsoft kept its side of the bargain. The very next day, it was announced that Clippy would be included in Microsoft’s latest emoji update.

"Last, but not least, we had to use this opportunity to make a change that only we could truly make—so long flat, standard paperclip, and hello Clippy!” Microsoft art director Claire Anderson wrote on Medium. “Sure, we may use fewer paper clips today than we did in Clippy’s heyday, but we couldn’t resist the nostalgic pull.”

Based on that explanation (and also the fact that Clippy is part of a much larger emoji overhaul, effected just one day after Microsoft’s Twitter call to arms), it seems like his resurrection had always been part of the plan. But the overwhelmingly positive response to the tweet does suggest that the virtual assistant of yore (i.e. the 1990s) is perhaps less loathed than previously thought. Or, at least, that he’s much more likable as a silent emoticon than as a benign pest who can’t help but point out that it looks like you’re writing a letter.

Clippy and the rest of the revamped emojis will start appearing in Microsoft Teams and Windows by the end of 2021, and you’ll be able to use them in Outlook and other programs in 2022.