Microsoft expands Copilot to more users, SMEs

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 16 Jan 2024
Microsoft’s Copilot recently reached a milestone of more than five billion chats since inception.
Microsoft’s Copilot recently reached a milestone of more than five billion chats since inception.

Software giant Microsoft has expanded its artificial intelligence (AI) assistant, Copilot, to consumers and small businesses, after initially only offering it to enterprises.

The virtual assistant that promises to completely transform the way employees conduct their functions, started rolling out in September, as part of Microsoft’s free update to Windows 11 across Bing, Edge and Microsoft 365.

In November, it was made generally available for Microsoft 365 enterprise customers, along with Microsoft 365 Chat, as the software giant transforms all its products to include AI tools developed by its AI start-up partner OpenAI.

As part of the new expansion, Microsoft says it is now offering the premium subscription, dubbed Copilot Pro, to consumers for a monthly fee of $20 (R375). Copilot for Microsoft 365 is now also available to small and medium-sized businesses, for $30 (R565) per user per month, starting Monday.

Key AI capabilities of Copilot include analysing documents and offering real-time suggestions to enhance content quality, grammar, and readability and allows users to explore content and data across documents, presentations, spreadsheets, notes, chats, email, meetings, and more.

Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s executive VP and consumer chief marketing officer, says Copilot has recently reached a milestone of more than five billion chats since inception.

“As Copilot continues to earn preference and usage, we’re receiving valuable feedback on how to improve. Two examples: first, there are a set of Copilot users like creators, researchers, programmers and others who want more rapid access to the very latest we have to offer. And second, our Microsoft 365 customers want access to Copilot in the Microsoft 365 apps for personal use. To help address those needs, today we’re delighted to announce more options for users, creators and anyone looking to take their Copilot experience to the next level,” notes Mehdi.

According to Mehdi, Copilot Pro supercharges Copilot’s performance, providing intelligent recommendations for vocabulary, enhanced image creation, phrasing and style, ensuring that users create high-quality documents seamlessly, among others.

“Subscribers get access to Copilot in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote on PC, Mac and iPad for Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers. Priority access to the latest models of OpenAI’s GPT-4 Turbo. With Copilot Pro you’ll have access to GPT-4 Turbo during peak times for faster performance,” he says.