Microsoft Bob was Microsoft for beginners

Microsoft Bob was Microsoft for beginners
Microsoft Bob was Microsoft for beginners

It’s been 29 years since Microsoft introduced Bob. Not the deliberately intoxicated driver, but a user environment that was intended to make it easier for people who did not feel comfortable using a computer. However, that turned out not to be a success. Get into the time machine. we go to the year 1995.

Microsoft Bob

Microsoft Bob was 29 years old on March 1 this year, but he was not actually given such a long life. It was released to teach people to use the computer. It originated as a project by Melinda Gates under the Microsoft banner. The people who developed the operating system thought it was still a bit too complicated and then came up with Bob. This was mainly due to the fact that the difference between Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 was very large.

You bought Bob separately for 99 US dollars and it was a kind of program that you opened within Windows. It ensured that all the complexities were removed and a somewhat simplified interface remained. But not completely simple, because it also looked very different: it was a kind of house with all kinds of rooms and you could then decorate the rooms. For example, you could put a book in it and make it so thick that it would fit well in the cupboard.

Bob agenda

It was Bob that you could learn about the different groups of programs within Windows. You could also create files that were then stored within Bob. The programs were Bob letter writer, Bob checkbook, Bob agenda, Bob e-mail, Bob household manager, Bob address book, Bob financial book and Bob clock. You probably already recognize well-known Microsoft software in it.

Actually, Bob was quite a good idea to make it easier and more attractive for people who really knew nothing about computers to start using computers. It’s a shame that there isn’t a Bob-like something for more tech, such as the smartphone. There are many people for whom it is not at all obvious to use such a device and it can help them enormously to feel more comfortable. But yeah, Bob was a flop. It was called a bad program, partly because the technical requirements were relatively high. But first of all because it seemed very childish, with its colorful graphics and the house idea. It seemed like a children’s program and Microsoft missed the point.

Comic Sans MS

Has Bob completely disappeared now? That’s not too bad. Bob’s best legacy is Comic Sans, the cartoony font that was actually developed for Bob. In the end it didn’t end up in Bob, but it did end up in Microsoft programs. Bob’s dog Rover also spent a while in Windows XP to help with the search function, but that is now over. By the way, Bill Gates loved Bob. Maybe a little because it was Melinda’s thing, but he once said he thought Bob was ahead of his time. So it fits very well in a time machine.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Microsoft Bob Microsoft beginners


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