Today Microsoft provided the answer to one of the world’s biggest questions.. how much are they going to charge business customers for using AI? It turns out the answer is US$30 per user, per month.
In Australia, based on today’s exchange rate, would be A$44.38 and because it’s a service, attracts 10% GST, making the cost to Australian businesses A$48.82 per user, per month. Businesses are already paying as much as A$78.30 per user/per month for E5 licensing. An E5+CoPilot license for a user would then cost $134.948 once you add GST.
Obviously, AI presents some big opportunities and if you have educated employees, it’s definitely possible you could save that much in time and productivity, but out of already stretched budgets, this is an additional spend on top of the typical M365 E3 and E5 pricing.
I think many of us were hopeful that if you were already paying Microsoft lots of money (for an E5 license per employee), you’d get access to free, or marginal cost, but now at those prices, it really makes you wonder about where you opt-in for these AI accelerations to common workflows, vs putting it in the hands of everyone.
Ironically Microsoft says they are working to provide a copilot for every person in their lives and at work. Microsoft has provided early access to 365 Copilot for some of its users and they do say Copilot promises to be a game changer for productivity.
Microsoft 365 Copilot pricing for commercial customers
Microsoft 365 Copilot offers integration into the core Office products unlocking the power of these new Large Language Models to process English requests against business data safely and securely.
Microsoft says Copilot is enterprise ready which means it inherits your existing Microsoft 365 security, privacy, identity and compliance policies. This is actually a key differentiator for Microsoft, as using any other provider, would mean you’d have to replicate and maintain another security model outside M365 services.
Businesses have the ultimate control over their data, but Microsoft assured customers that their data is logically isolated and protected within their Microsoft 365 tenant. At the tenant level, Copilot respects individual and group permission policies.
Microsoft 365 Copilot offers all the capabilities of Bing Chat Enterprise (see below), plus much more.
Copilot puts thousands of skills at your command and can reason over all your content and context to take on any task. It’s grounded in your business data in the Microsoft Graph — that’s all your emails, calendar, chats, documents and more.
Copilot could generate an update from the morning’s meetings, emails and chats to send to the team; get you up to speed on project developments from the last week; or create a SWOT analysis from internal files and data from the web. The idea here is to take regular work tasks that take minutes, hours or days, and reduce those to seconds.
Microsoft 365 Copilot is also integrated into the apps millions of people use every day. Copilot jump-starts your creativity in Word, analyzes data in Excel, designs presentations in PowerPoint, triages your Outlook inbox, summarizes meetings in Teams – whether you attended or not – and so much more.
In May, Microsoft announced that Microsoft 365 Copilot paid Early Access Program expanded to 600 enterprise customers worldwide, including companies like KPMG, Lumen, and Emirates NBD. Learnings from that expanded trial show that the more customers use Copilot, the more their enthusiasm for Copilot grows.
Bing Chat Enterprise — AI-powered chat for work
Employees are looking to use AI tools to help them unlock creativity and productivity at work, but using AI tools that aren’t built for the enterprise inadvertently puts sensitive business data at risk. As organizations adopt AI, they want to be confident their data is protected.
Bing Chat Enterprise gives your organization AI-powered chat for work with commercial data protection. With Bing Chat Enterprise, user and business data are protected and will not leak outside the organization.
Chat data is not saved, and Microsoft has no eyes-on access – which means no one can view your data. Importantly, your data is not used to train the models. This addresses one of the big challenges for businesses to date and even has seen some businesses ban AI due to the risk that employees could upload corporate data, which would enter the training data and potentially be surfaced in requests from customers or competitors. Thankfully Microsoft has a different approach which means that’s not possible.
Just like Bing Chat, Bing Chat Enterprise is grounded in web data and provides complete, verifiable answers with citations, along with visual answers that include graphs, charts and images, and is designed in line with our AI principles.
Bing Chat Enterprise is rolling out in preview today and is included at no additional cost in Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard and Business Premium. And in the future, it will be available as a stand-alone offering for $5 per user, per month.
You can access Bing Chat Enterprise using your work account wherever Bing Chat is supported — Bing.com/chat and the Microsoft Edge sidebar. And, in the future, Bing Chat Enterprise will also be accessible from Windows Copilot.
Search with images — not just words — using Visual Search in Chat
In addition to unlocking the power of generative AI to people at work, Microsoft are making Bing Chat more powerful. Today the service began rolling out multimodal capabilities via Visual Search in Chat.
Leveraging OpenAI’s GPT-4 model, Visual Search in Chat lets anyone upload images and search the web for related content.
You can upload a picture and prompt Bing to tell you about it. Bing can understand the context of an image, interpret it, and answer questions about it.
This could help identify a location you visited but forgot the name of, or somewhere you’d like to travel to on your next family holiday. This is a great feature and its nice to see it available for free, with the equivalent on ChatGPT requiring ChatGPT Plus for US$20 per month.
Visual Search in Chat is beginning to roll out now via desktop and the Bing mobile app and Microsoft are working to bring this to Bing Chat Enterprise in the future.