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Microsoft Bob

Microsoft Bob was a product released by Microsoft in March 1995, designed to be a user friendly interface for Microsoft Windows version 3.1, intended to replace the Program Manager.

The software included home management programs such as a calendar and address book. The software was not successful in the market, however, and is sometimes considered Microsoft's least successful product.

Despite its poor market showing, Bob's yellow smiley face logo became widely associated with the product and Microsoft in general.

Bob-like interactive assistants (similar to the later-generation Clippy or Clippit, the talking paperclip) led to Microsoft Agent, a technology that later became embedded in a number of Microsoft products, including Microsoft Office. Like Bob, however, these assistants are notorious for being generally disliked by users, and it is said that one of the most common questions Microsoft support is asked is how to turn them off. One of the key elements of Microsoft's advertising campaign for Office XP was the removal of Clippy and the Office Assistant from the software, although it was still present, providing the user enabled it.

Some designs of the cartoons were used in other Microsoft products:

Microsoft Bob was a project managed by Melinda French, who later married Bill Gates to become Melinda Gates.

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