Microsoft Bob

Microsoft Bob
Microsoft Bob.PNG
Initial releaseMarch 10, 1995; 23 years ago (1995-03-10)[1]
Stable release
1.00a / August 30, 1995 (1995-08-30)[1]
Operating systemWindows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, XP [2]

Microsoft Bob was a Microsoft software product that was released on March 11, 1995 and discontinued in early 1996. The program was intended to provide a more user-friendly interface for the Windows 3.1x, Windows 95 and Windows NT operating systems, supplanting the Windows Program Manager. Microsoft Bob presented screens showing a "house", with "rooms" that the user could go to containing familiar objects corresponding to computer applications—for instance, a desk with pen and paper, a checkbook, and other items. In this case, clicking on the pen and paper would open the word processor.

A cartoon dog named Rover and other cartoon characters provided guidance using speech balloons. Rover and a few others later returned in Windows XP as "Search Companions".

Microsoft Bob was greatly criticized in the press, did not gain wide acceptance with users, and was neither a successful nor long-lived product.


Microsoft Bob was released in March 1995 (before Windows 95 was released), although it had been widely publicized prior to that date under the codename "Utopia".[3][4] The project leader for Bob was Karen Fries, a Microsoft researcher. The design was based on research by Professors Clifford Nass and Byron Reeves of Stanford University.[5] At one point, Bill Gates's wife, Melinda Gates, worked as one of the Marketing Managers on the project.[6] Microsoft originally purchased the domain name from Boston-area techie Bob Antia, but later traded it to Bob Kerstein for the domain name.[7]

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