Microsoft Expands Access to Copilot Virtual Assistant

Microsoft Expands Access to Copilot Virtual Assistant

Microsoft has announced that it is expanding access to its Copilot virtual assistant, allowing small businesses and consumers to subscribe to the service. Copilot is an AI-powered virtual assistant that uses generative artificial intelligence technology developed by OpenAI. The move is aimed at capitalizing on the growing demand for generative AI in various industries and enabling Microsoft to cover the costs of building data center infrastructure to support AI applications.

Microsoft initially introduced Copilot for large companies in November, followed by educational institutions in December. These organizations were required to pay an add-on fee of $30 per person per month to access Copilot. However, Microsoft has now extended access to small businesses with Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Business Standard subscriptions. These businesses can sign up for up to 299 licenses at the same $30 per person per month rate.

In addition to expanding access to small businesses, Microsoft has also eliminated the 300-seat minimum requirement for commercial plans. Previously, this requirement had been in place since November. Now, businesses with Office 365 E3 or E5 subscriptions can utilize Copilot without needing a minimum number of seats. This move aims to make Copilot more accessible and affordable for a wider range of organizations.

Paid Version for Consumers

Individual consumers who pay for Microsoft 365 software can now subscribe to a new paid version of Copilot. Previously, Copilot was only available for free in certain applications and platforms, such as the Bing search engine. However, consumers can now access Copilot in applications like Word, Excel, Outlook, and more by signing up for the Copilot Pro add-on, which costs $20 per person per month.

Benefits of Copilot Pro

Users who subscribe to Copilot Pro will receive “priority access to the very latest models,” including OpenAI’s GPT-4 Turbo. This allows users to utilize cutting-edge AI capabilities during peak times. Additionally, Copilot Pro subscribers will have the ability to switch between different AI models and customize their own chatbots using a forthcoming tool called Copilot GPT Builder. Microsoft highlights that Copilot Pro is designed to enhance performance, productivity, and creativity for tasks such as writing, coding, designing, researching, and learning.

Competition and Investor Expectations

Microsoft’s expansion of its Copilot virtual assistant comes as investors and industry experts speculate on the potential of generative AI in various sectors. Despite facing competition from tech giants like Amazon and Google, Microsoft’s recent market performance, reclaiming the title of the most valuable publicly traded company from Apple, demonstrates investors’ confidence in its ability to capitalize on the demand for generative AI. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has emphasized the company’s commitment to AI, positioning it as a central element of its identity and future development.

Microsoft’s decision to expand access to its Copilot virtual assistant is an important step to meet the growing demand for generative AI in the business and consumer markets. By making Copilot available to small businesses and consumers, Microsoft aims to reach a wider audience and generate revenue to support the development of AI infrastructure. The introduction of the Copilot Pro add-on further enhances the capabilities of Copilot, allowing users to access cutting-edge AI models and customize their own chatbots. With Microsoft’s focus on AI, it is well-positioned to continue capitalizing on the increasing interest in generative AI across various industries.


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