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Microsoft Releases CoPilot for All - Here's What You Need to Know

Updated: Feb 9

copilot logo with an office background

 On Tuesday (January 16), Microsoft announced that small businesses can now subscribe to its Copilot virtual assistant within the company's productivity apps. Consumers paying for the Microsoft 365 software can opt for a new paid version of Copilot.


These updates aim to extend Microsoft's reach in generative artificial intelligence, a technology popularized by OpenAI's ChatGPT chatbot last year. This technology can generate natural-sounding text based on a brief written command. Expanding access is seen as a way for the company to offset the costs of building the data center infrastructure that supports AI.


Initially, Copilot was offered to large companies and educational institutions, with an add-on cost of $30 per person per month on top of existing subscription fees. Now, small businesses subscribing to Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Business Standard can sign up for up to 299 licenses at the same $30 per person per month rate, as announced by Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's head of Windows and Surface, in a blog post.


In addition, Microsoft is eliminating the 300-seat minimum for commercial plans that was in place since November. Copilot's use will also be permitted for those with Office 365 E3 or E5, which have lower costs than full Microsoft 365 subscriptions.


While individuals previously had free access to Copilot in various ways, including through the Bing search engine and, those with Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions can now use it in Word, Excel, Outlook, and other apps. A new Copilot Pro add-on is available for these users at $20 per person each month.


What Can Copilot Do For Your Business?

 Microsoft 365 Copilot sets out with the goal to transform work in three ways:


Unleashing Creativity

When using word you can say goodbye to starting with a blank slate as Copilot jump-starts the creative process by providing a first draft for you to edit and iterate on. This saves valuable hours in writing, sourcing, and editing. Copilot may be right at times and usefully wrong at others, but it consistently propels you further ahead. As the author, you remain in control, guiding your unique ideas forward and prompting Copilot to shorten, rewrite, or offer feedback.


In PowerPoint, Copilot assists in crafting beautiful presentations with a simple prompt, incorporating relevant content from documents created last week or even last year. Meanwhile, in Excel, Copilot empowers you to analyze trends and generate professional-looking data visualizations in mere seconds.


Unlocking Productivity

Despite our desire to focus on the crucial 20% of our work, we often find ourselves bogged down by the 80% that involves time-consuming tasks. Copilot steps in to lighten the load. In Outlook, it swiftly handles tasks like summarizing lengthy email threads and drafting suggested replies, allowing you to clear your inbox in minutes instead of hours. In Teams, Copilot transforms every meeting into a productive session by summarizing key discussion points, identifying alignments and disagreements, and suggesting real-time action items.


Moreover, Copilot in Power Platform empowers users to automate repetitive tasks, create chatbots, and transition from ideas to working apps within minutes. GitHub data underscores Copilot's impact on productivity, with 88% of developers using GitHub Copilot reporting increased productivity, 74% enjoying more satisfying work, and 77% spending less time searching for information or examples.


Copilot's influence extends beyond individual productivity, creating a new knowledge model for organizations. It taps into the vast reservoir of untapped data and insights, offering a solution to the challenge of inaccessible information. Business Chat, operating across all business data and apps, surfaces relevant information and insights, facilitating the free flow of knowledge within the organization. Accessible from Microsoft, Bing with your work account signed in, or Teams, Business Chat saves valuable time by providing quick access to the answers you need.


"Upleveling" Skills

Copilot enhances your strengths and facilitates the swift mastery of new skills. Typically, individuals use only a few commands, like "animate a slide" or "insert a table," out of the thousands offered in Microsoft 365. Copilot changes this dynamic by unlocking all the rich functionality through natural language, marking just the beginning of its capabilities.


The impact of Copilot goes beyond mere convenience; it fundamentally transforms the dynamics of how people interact with AI and how AI collaborates with individuals. While adapting to a new work pattern may entail a learning curve, those who embrace this innovative approach will rapidly gain a competitive edge. Copilot heralds a shift in how individuals work with AI, promising increased efficiency and a more seamless collaboration between technology and human expertise.


Microsoft 365 Copilot Licensing


copilot pricing breakdown

Source: Microsoft


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