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 challenged Instagram users to like the post depicted below a mere 200,000 times and it would then “replace the paperclip emoji in Microsoft 365 with Clippy”. Twitter users were given a lesser challenge: just 20,000 likes.

Replacing the icon with Clippy won’t impact Microsoft’s wares other than perhaps making for a slightly larger image file somewhere deep within its products. It may, however, enrage users who remember the original Clippy’s inane “It looks like you’re writing a letter” intrusions.

The Insta-action is not Microsoft’s only recent Clippy-related activity: on a recent slow news day, The Register spotted that in June the company re-applied for the Clippy trademark.

Microsoft’s filing for the renewed trademark described it as both “Software” and “Software as a service”. That inclusion made no sense when we spotted it. Today’s Insta-action suggests Microsoft perhaps wanted to make sure it could add Clippy to Microsoft 365 without the possibility of legal entanglements.

At the time of writing, Microsoft’s Twitter challenge had blown past its target to record over 120,000 likes. The Instagram challenge had gathered 195,000 of the required 200,000 Likes.

Clippy, therefore, looks all but assured of returning to your desktop. What a time to be alive!

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