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September 21, 2023

Microsoft 365 Copilot release date revealed as Windows 11 gets AI update

The automated technology will be introduced to Word, Excel and Powerpoint. But it doesn't come cheap.

By Matthew Gooding

Microsoft says it will begin rolling out its Copilot AI assistant to enterprise users of the Microsoft 365 productivity suite on 1 November. The news was revealed today as part of a major AI update from the vendor, which is also bringing Copilot to its Windows 11 operating system.

Microsoft 365 Copilot will launch in November. The technology is also coming to Windows. (Image courtesy of Microsoft)

The AI tools, dubbed Copilot for Work by the tech giant, will bring generative AI to Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook and see the launch of a new Business Chat app, now rebranded Microsoft 365 Chat.

Like many Big Tech companies, Microsoft has rushed to embrace AI over the last nine months since the launch of ChatGPT catapulted the technology into the mainstream. It has strengthened its long-term partnership with OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, through a multi-billion dollar investment, and is now gradually infusing its entire product range with artificial intelligence.

Release data revealed for Microsoft 365 Copilot

The Microsoft 365 Copilot was first announced by the company in March. Today it said the products will be generally available from 1 November for certain business and enterprise users of the 365 suite.

Users will be able to use Copilot for Word to create draft versions of a document from simple text prompts, while Copilot for Excel will be able to answer questions about datasets in a spreadsheet. Other features include an addition to PowerPoint which will automatically create a slide deck from a text document.

The business chat app has been renamed Microsoft 365 Chat, and Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice-president and consumer chief marketing officer at Microsoft, said it can “comb across your entire universe of data at work, including emails, meetings, chats, documents and more, plus the web”.

Mehdi explained: “It goes far beyond simple questions and answers to give you a head start on some of your most complex or tedious tasks – whether that’s writing a strategy document, booking a business trip, or catching up on emails.”

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Companies wishing to take advantage of the 365 Copilot will have to pay for the privilege, though. Microsoft said in July that it would be charging an additional $30 per month for access to its AI tools.

The system is already in use by some of MSFT’s enterprise customers including Visa, General Motors and KPMG.

Copilot is coming to Windows 11

Microsoft also revealed today that a preview version of Copilot will be introduced as part of a new update of its Windows 11 operating system. This will be rolled on from Monday, 26 September.

The update will mean Copilot is available as a desktop app to assist users. The company is also introducing AI-powered updates to classic apps such as Paint and Notepad, as well as using the technology in its photo editing tool.

“Copilot will uniquely incorporate the context and intelligence of the web, your work data and what you are doing in the moment on your PC to provide better assistance – with your privacy and security at the forefront,” Mehdi said.

Read more: OpenAI brings DALL-E 3 to ChatGPT Enterprise

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