Microsoft recently announced that its Copilot virtual assistant is now available for small businesses within the company’s productivity apps. Additionally, consumers with Microsoft 365 software subscriptions can opt for a new, paid version of Copilot.
This update aims to introduce more Microsoft customers to generative artificial intelligence, a field popularized by OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot. The technology can generate coherent text based on brief written prompts. By expanding its availability, Microsoft hopes to offset the costs associated with developing the necessary data center infrastructure for AI.
Investors have high expectations for Microsoft in the generative AI market, spanning areas like operating systems, cloud services, productivity tools, web search, and security. This comes despite stiff competition from companies like Amazon and Google. Recently, Microsoft surpassed Apple as the most valuable publicly traded company.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has emphasized AI’s central role in the company’s future. “Our vision is pretty straightforward. We are the Copilot company,” Nadella stated at the Ignite conference in Seattle.
Initially available to large corporations and educational institutions, Copilot for Microsoft 365 leverages OpenAI’s extensive language models and costs an additional $30 per user per month. Now, small businesses with Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Standard subscriptions can also access Copilot, with the option to purchase up to 299 licenses at the same price.
Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s head of Windows and Surface, also announced the removal of the 300-seat minimum requirement for commercial plans and the extension of Copilot access to Office 365 E3 or E5 subscribers, who typically pay less than full Microsoft 365 subscribers.
Previously, individuals could use Copilot for free through Bing or at copilot.microsoft.com. However, those with personal or family Microsoft 365 subscriptions couldn’t utilize Copilot in apps like Word, Excel, or Outlook. This changes with the introduction of Copilot Pro, available for $20 per user per month, providing access to the latest models, including “OpenAI’s GPT-4 Turbo.”
Copilot Pro users can switch between models and create custom chatbots with the upcoming Copilot GPT Builder tool, enhancing performance, productivity, and creativity across various tasks like writing, coding, and designing.