Microsoft Expands Copilot Access to Small Businesses in Productivity Apps Subscription

Microsoft Expands Copilot Access to Small Businesses in Productivity Apps Subscription

By Staff Writer, 17 January 2024

On Tuesday (16/1), Microsoft revealed that small businesses can now subscribe to its Copilot virtual assistant within the company's productivity apps.

This expanded availability follows the existing option for consumers who subscribe to the Microsoft 365 software, allowing them to access a new paid version of Copilot.

The updates aim to broaden Microsoft's customer base for generative artificial intelligence, a technology that gained popularity through OpenAI's ChatGPT chatbot last year.

This AI is capable of composing natural-sounding text based on a person's concise written command.

By increasing access to this technology, Microsoft hopes to offset the costs associated with building the necessary data center infrastructure to support AI capabilities.

Despite facing competition from tech giants like Amazon and Google, investors have shown confidence in Microsoft's ability to leverage generative AI demand across various sectors, including operating systems, cloud services, productivity tools, web search, and security.

Notably, Microsoft recently surpassed Apple to regain the title of the most valuable publicly traded company.

Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella, has underscored the company's commitment to AI, emphasizing its central role in Microsoft's identity.

Speaking at the Ignite conference in Seattle last November, Nadella stated, "Our vision is pretty straightforward. We are the Copilot company."

Initially introduced for large companies in November and subsequently for educational institutions in December, Copilot for Microsoft 365, powered by OpenAI's extensive language models, required an additional $30 per person per month on top of existing subscription costs.

Now, Microsoft is extending this offering to small businesses that subscribe to Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Business Standard, allowing them to sign up for up to 299 licenses at $30 per person per month, as detailed by Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's head of Windows and Surface.

Jordan Novet / CNBC

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