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Microsoft's paper-clip assistant killed in Denver

October 16, 1998
Web posted at 3:25 PM EDT

by Bob Trott


(IDG) -- DENVER -- An auditorium hall full of Windows developers witnessed an execution at the Professional Developers Conference here Wednesday, as Microsoft product managers coolly and deliberately killed the Microsoft Office Assistant.

The assistant, a paper clip with expressive eyes and hyperactive eyebrows that offers user tips, has been the source of wide scorn among developers, who have little use for its cuteness and intrusiveness. The assistant's demise triggered a hearty round of applause.

Brian Valentine, general manager of the Application and Tools Group at Microsoft, and product manager Tom Rizzo showed developers how to get rid of the agent with a line of Visual Basic code that Microsoft will post to its Web site for downloading.

In the demonstration, Rizzo clicked on a menu that offered the option "kill the assistant." After choosing that option, the paper clip said, "I'm melting, I'm melting," and then disappeared.

"Good riddance," one unidentified developer commented to a colleague after the deed was done.

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