The Secret Origins of Clippy: Microsoft’s Bizarre Animated Character Patents

By  |  Friday, January 2, 2009 at 12:31 am

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Actimates Patent

Video and Radio Controlled Moving and Talking Device

Filed September 28th, 1995

This image is slightly off-topic–it’s for the invention that reached the market as Actimates, a line of robotic animated dolls that interacted with content on VHS videotapes. But the pissed-off expression on those bears’ faces is irresistible, and I think that Actimates were another expression of whatever primal urge motivated Microsoft to create Bob and Clippy. Microsoft never sold Actimates teddy bears–instead, it opted for the smiling-but-evil Barney and Teletubbies.

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