Microsoft Copilot Cheat Sheet: Price, Versions & Benefits

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Microsoft Copilot Cheat Sheet: Price, Versions & Benefits

Microsoft Copilot Cheat Sheet: Price, Versions & Benefits
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The practical application of generative artificial intelligence has gone from an abstract, future concept to a concrete reality in a matter of mere months. Businesses and organizations large and small are scrambling to figure out if and how AI can help their people be more productive and efficient. For organizations using Microsoft software, the application of AI in a business environment is being led by the Microsoft Copilot platform.
Businesses at the enterprise level are also looking for ways AI can leverage the massive amounts of data generated daily by their organizations in increasingly productive ways. Many believe that such a massive undertaking can only be accomplished by a competent AI platform. Microsoft Copilot, with its integration into Windows, Bing, 365, Azure, and Server, is purported to be the AI that unlocks the creative and productive potential of an organization’s people and data.
Microsoft Copilot is a new AI product that combines the power of large language models with in-house enterprise data generated by the Microsoft Graph and Microsoft 365 applications. Using the power of AI and natural language conversations, users can find better answers to their questions and potentially create content from those answers. Copilot was developed on the ChatGPT platform and announced as an in-development platform at the July 2023 Microsoft Inspire conference.
There are two versions of Copilot: Copilot for Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Microsoft 365 Copilot), which requires a subscription, and a more general Microsoft Copilot. It is important to note that Copilot for Microsoft 365 is different from the consumer and small business-oriented Copilot platform found in Bing Chat or non-enterprise versions of Microsoft 365. These Copilot LLMs are trained on more generalized aggregate data gathered across the internet and therefore tend to have more generalized results. Copilot for Microsoft 365 will be dependent on the data generated by a specific, and only a specific, enterprise.
Both Copilot versions will be embedded in the Microsoft 365 apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Teams. This complete Microsoft 365 integration will allow an organization’s workers to be more creative, unlock productivity gains and potentially improve their skills. In addition, Microsoft 365 Copilot will add AI-enabled Microsoft 365 Chat (formerly called Business Chat) to the productivity suite, which will work across enterprise-specific data like calendars, emails, chats, documents, meetings and contacts to help employees communicate easier and better.
As of Dec. 5, Copilot runs on OpenAI’s GPT-4 large language model and the DALL-E 3 image generation model from the same company.
As of Nov. 15, 2023, Microsoft consolidated three versions of Microsoft Copilot (Microsoft Copilot in Windows, Bing Chat Enterprise and Microsoft 365 Copilot) into two, Microsoft Copilot and Copilot for Microsoft 365. In January 2024 Microsoft added another option, Copilot Pro.
Microsoft Copilot incorporates the tools formerly known as Bing Chat and Bing Chat Enterprise. It is suitable for individual or SMB users. Microsoft Copilot has a seamless visual identity across Bing, Edge, Microsoft 365, and Windows, being accessible through the same icon in all of them. This version of Copilot will allow you to use generative AI to create and complete tasks inside the Windows operating system and with Windows apps. Accessing Copilot will be available from the taskbar or with the Windows Key + C keyboard shortcut.
Commercial data protection is applied to any interaction with Microsoft Copilot when the user signs in with Microsoft Entra ID.
The following licenses will gain access to commercial data protection with Microsoft Copilot:
Copilot for Microsoft 365 builds on the Bing Chat Enterprise foundation, including enterprise-grade security, privacy and compliance to ensure all data processing happens inside Microsoft 365. It is suitable for enterprise customers. The Copilot for Microsoft 365 experience includes Microsoft 365 Chat, which combs across your entire universe of data (emails, meetings, chats, documents and more, plus the world wide web) to help you solve problems at work. Copilot for Microsoft 365 with Microsoft 365 Business Standard or Microsoft 365 Business Premium costs $30 per user per month.
Copilot for Microsoft 365 is also integrated into Microsoft 365 Apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams and more.
In January 2024, Microsoft removed the seat minimum (300 seats) for Copilot for Microsoft 365, offering it at $30 per user per month for between one and 299 seats. This expands the product’s commercial plan to small and medium-sized businesses.
Copilot Pro is a subscription service for individuals costing $20 per month per user. Intended for super users, it adds Image Creator from Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator) and the most powerful generative AI models like OpenAI’s GPT-4 Turbo. With Copilot Pro accessible through Copilot in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote on PC, Mac and iPad for Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers, Copilot Pro brings data from different applications together to allow the AI assistant to work with more context-relevant information. Copilot Pro will also provide access to Microsoft’s upcoming Copilot GPT Builder.
Assuming Microsoft Copilot works as advertised, an employee could jump-start a project (e.g., email, presentation, report, data visualization) with an AI-generated first draft. With that foundation, the employee can quickly move on to refining and iterating a second draft and then a final draft, cutting at least one step from the process. This should make the employee more efficient and productive, and it could allow for the development of new skills.
For Copilot for Microsoft 365, the key to these productivity gains will be the application of enterprise-specific data to the new project from the start. Using data internally generated by the enterprise from emails, documents, calendars, contacts and so on, presumably the project will be jump-started with limited, and more importantly, pertinent assets.
SEE: Hiring kit: Prompt engineer (TechRepublic Premium)
For example, if an enterprise employee at Ford is creating a presentation that needs to show movement, the AI – if properly trained – should use a Ford-related product rather than a similar product from one of its competitors. An AI trained by data culled from the internet may come to a different conclusion and defeat the purpose of deploying enterprise-specific generative AI.
Copilot is integrated into the fabric of all Microsoft 365 applications. When an employee starts a Word document, reads an email in Outlook, opens an Excel report or updates a PowerPoint presentation, Copilot and its generative AI abilities are there to assist when called upon. In January 2024, Microsoft added Copilot capabilities to the Microsoft 365 mobile app and launched a Copilot mobile app. In February 2024, Microsoft redesigned the Copilot homepage and app.
Below are examples of commands a user might give Microsoft Copilot.
All AI platforms are only as good as their training; if Microsoft Copilot is modeled after data that is incomplete, biased, wrong or otherwise corrupt, the suggestions it generates, regardless of who is asking, will be incomplete, biased, wrong or otherwise corrupt. The old adage of garbage in equals garbage out still applies.
For Copilot for Microsoft 365, training will be particularly important because all the data used for that Copilot AI platform will be internally generated and gathered. Enterprises looking to properly apply AI will have to carefully monitor the data Copilot can access. For example, a business may not want brainstorming documents and meeting notes to be part of the data stream; rejected ideas may taint the data stream and propagate throughout the organization.
For general versions of Microsoft Copilot, organizations and users will have to be aware that inherent biases, fads, misguided trends and other transitory events will likely color some of the AI-generated output. Not every passing fancy on the internet should make its way into official organizational documents.
In addition to this potential problem, especially for Copilot for Microsoft 365 implementations, is the tendency of some departments to silo their data behind firewalls. New products and services developed under non-disclosure agreements, for example, will often be cut off from the normal organizational data stream. Businesses will have to decide whether hiding data from the AI in such cases is more beneficial than allowing AI access.
Generative AI is arguably the hottest trend in technology innovation for 2023 and early 2024, so it stands to reason there are many new and in-development AI platforms ready to compete with Microsoft Copilot.
Even though Copilot is based on ChatGPT, the AI chatbot is available as a standalone platform and therefore should be considered a competitor. Generative AI is already incorporated into Microsoft Edge in the form of Bing Chat, and a generative AI has recently been released for the Google search engine and Chrome. It seems that generative AI will be integrated into just about every digital application we use on a computing device.
Major tech companies including Salesforce, Oracle and Adobe are all working on AI platforms. There are also dozens of smaller independent developers working on their own versions of an AI platform. Plus, there are a multitude of AI competitors working on specialized platforms that will bind LLMs and generative AI principles to specific applications. Businesses will likely spend a lot of time wading through AI platform possibilities.
At first glance, Microsoft 365 Copilot’s price point seems expensive, but it is vital to remember this version of the platform is designed for large business enterprises. For a large enterprise with thousands of employees, and assuming the platform delivers what Microsoft promises, that $30 could end up being a bargain. That is a big assumption to make at this early point in development.
The consumer and SMB versions of Microsoft Copilot will likely be priced differently than the enterprise counterpart. Bing Chat, which is also based on ChatGPT, is available now and for free as an integral part of Microsoft Edge. It is also likely that some feature-restricted or otherwise modified version of Copilot will be available for SMBs too small to have meaningful in-house generated data available to train the AI platform.
The pricing for all the versions of Microsoft Copilot is likely to change as development of the platform continues. With the large number of competitors in the AI platform space, it seems almost certain the cost of these services will change significantly.
At $30 per user per month, business leaders will need to determine whether Copilot for Microsoft 365 is right for their business size, needs and budget. In addition to the subscription fee, such employers will also have to account for the extra expenses associated with generating, collecting and collating accurate and useful data for the AI and LLMs to train on. This is a major undertaking, and the decision to implement the Copilot platform will take a significant commitment.
Large enterprises will have to decide whether the productivity benefits of using the Copilot for Microsoft 365 platform outweigh the initial costs of developing and maintaining the platform – and then paying for it indefinitely.
For individuals and small businesses with little to no LLM-ready data, the consumer level versions of Microsoft Copilot is available for free. Bing Chat is already available in Microsoft Edge for everyone. Some form of low-cost or no-cost version of Copilot will likely be available for certain versions of Microsoft 365.
Only time will tell if the generative AI capabilities of Copilot are worth the time necessary to use them.
As of December 2023, Copilot for Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Copilot are generally available.
In January, Microsoft announced new Windows 11 PCs (including the Surface line) coming out in late February through Spring 2024 will include a Copilot key. The Copilot key enables easy access to Copilot in Windows.
 
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Microsoft Copilot Cheat Sheet: Price, Versions & Benefits
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