Page Banner
Home Site News
BeOS/Haiku Deskmate Linux/UNIX Mac OS NeXT ReactOS GEOS GEM QNX OS/2 RISC OS Windows Windows Shells Xerox/Sun Others Office Ribbon

You've probably heard this joke about some old failed Microsoft shell product called "BOB", or saw that goofy nerdy smily, and wondered, "What the hell was all this about?"
Well, it truly exists, and apparently is still around, despite being a complete failure.

In early 1995, Microsoft released this product called "Bob", as part of the MS Home suite of applications. It was designed to replace 3.1's Program Manager (and later Windows 95's Explorer) with this incredibly childish interface that hopefully was only aimed at beginners.
Microsoft had this massive ad campaign and loaded stores with it, expecting a major hit. It was a massive fail.

A few reasons why it flopped:

  • It required at minimum a 486 with 8MB RAM, 30MB hard drive space and 256 color VGA graphics, something very few PCs could meet.
  • It was way too "cute" for your average PC user.
  • Anyone who wanted ease of use would have better experiences with a Macintosh.
  • Bob wasn't useful period, let alone useful enough to justify the $100 price tag.
  • Windows 95, which came out later that year, had the new Explorer interface which took Bob to the cleaners.

And so, Bob disappeared into a black hole of forgottenness.

BOB 1.00a Splash
The Bob splash screen.
There were two releases of Bob. The original version, version 1.00, was released in January 1995. This version, 1.00a, was released after 95 came out, August 1995, and included more guides, rooms and objects.

Bob can be set to run on startup or be started manually as an ordinary application.

BOB 1.00a Knocker
Before you can use Bob, you must identify yourself. To do that, you use the knocker and choose from a list of already registered users. If you are not on that list, you must enter information about yourself, which Bob later uses in it's other programs.
While users can have "private" areas, any form of real security is non-existant in Bob.

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional Valid CSS!