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What are Microsoft's different Copilots? Here's what they are and how you can use them

Microsoft has unleased a series of AI companions that can complete a wide range of tasks to make your life easier.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Microsoft Copilot
Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

What is Microsoft Copliot?

At a general level, Microsoft's Copilots are the tech giant's artifical intelligence (AI) companions. Microsoft has released several Copilots that can complete different tasks for different purposes. 

"We are the Copilot company," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the firm's Ignite event. "We believe in a future where there will be a Copilot for everyone and everything you do."

Also: Bing Chat now goes by Copilot and feels a lot more like ChatGPT

However, the term Microsoft Copilot in itself refers to what was previously known as Bing Chat, an AI chatbot that can help with a series of tasks, such as coding, writing, generating images, answering general questions, and more. 

Other Copliots span Microsoft's applications and experiences, including Microsoft 365. These Copilots provide AI assistance in virtually every aspect of the workflow across the different Microsoft applications. 

Is Microsoft Copilot out yet?

Yes, since Microsoft Copilot is just Bing Chat under a new name, it has been technically out since February when Bing Chat was released. However, under the new name, it has been publicly available since Microsoft Ignite in November. 

In terms of the other Copilots, they all have different release dates. Here's a topline review:

  • Copilot in Windows started rolling out on Windows 11 on September 26 through a Windows 11 update.
  • Copilot for Microsoft 365 began rolling out for enterprise customers on November 1 and will roll out to non-enterprise users at a later date. 
  • Copilot for Sales will be available in the first quarter of 2024. 
  • Copilot for Service will be generally available in early 2024. 
  • Copilot in Viva will begin rolling out to customers "later in 2023", according to Microsoft.
  • Github Copilot was the first tool to release, all the way back in 2021. 

Is Microsoft Copilot free?

Yes, Microsoft Copilot, formerly known as Bing Chat, is available for free. 

The cost of the application-specific Microsoft Copilots depends on the service it is being integrated into. 

For example, Copilot for Microsoft 365 has been made available for enterprise customers at a whopping $30 per user per month.

Also: Microsoft's latest AI offerings for developers revealed at Ignite 2023

For context, the price of the add-on is more than the lower-end plans of Microsoft 365 business subscriptions, which range from $12 to $23 per user per month, and almost the same as Microsoft's Office 365 E5 highest-end enterprise subscription, which costs $38 per month. 

However, Copilot in Windows was rolled out for free via a Windows 11 update. 

Other applications like Copilot for Sales and Copilot for Service have a lower cost of $50 per user. 

GitHub Copilot for an individual costs $10 per month or $100 per year, and $19 per user per month for businesses. 

What is Copilot for Microsoft 365?

Copilot for Microsoft 365 refers to the integration of the Copilot AI assistant into Microsoft's 365 productivity software family, including Teams, Word, Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint. 

Also: Microsoft Teams AI-powered makeover promises to clean up your messy office

For example, with Copilot for Microsoft 365 , the suite of Microsoft 365 applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams, will be infused with Copilot to optimize your workflow, such as generating text and tables in Word, summarizing and drafting emails in Outlook, and generating Python visualizations in Excel. 

What is Copilot in Windows?

Copilot in Windows is an AI assistant in Windows that can help you with a variety of tasks, both relating to your PC's settings and to generative assistance. For example, Copilot in Windows can turn on your computer's dark room, organize your windows, write an essay, help you shop, and more wth a simple conversational prompt. 

What is Microsoft Security Copilot?

Microsoft's Security Copilot combines AI with cybersecurity to provide users with more advanced protection against attacks. 

AlsoBoosting cybersecurity: Microsoft's AI-driven Security Copilot

The benefits that Microsoft Security Copilot provides for users include analyzing data sets to detect patterns of illicit behavior, which helps recognize cyberattacks, and increasing the speed and accuracy of real-time reactions with automated response mechanisms. 

What is Microsoft Copilot for Service and Copilot for Sales?

At Microsoft Ignite, the company unveiled additions to its Copilot ecosystem, including Copilot for Service and Copilot for Sales. These two Copilots are focused on using AI to optimize business operations in enterprises.

Also: Microsoft launches two new Copilots, adding AI-guidance for Service and Sales

Enterprises can integrate Copilot for Service with customer relationship management (CRM) applications to receive "AI-guided answers" and "resources" for each customer, according to Microsoft

Copilot for Sales is the evolution of Sales Copilot, which is designed to be a companion for sellers to, "to increase productivity and personalize every customer interaction so they can close more deals," according to Microsoft.

What is Microsoft 365 Chat?

Microsoft 365 Chat is part of the Microsoft 365 Copliot experience. It is a chat interface that has access to your data across different Microsoft work applications, which enables it to answer questions and assist with tasks.

Also: Windows 11 version 23H2 isn't exciting, which is why you'll probably love it

For example, you can ask Microsoft 365 Chat to "summarize unread messages", and it will look through all of your 365 applications to give you a concise summary of everything you missed. 

It can also catch you up on meetings, find documents for you, and answer questions based on the content you have in your documents, meetings, chats, and more. 

What is Google's version of Microsoft Copilot?

Google first announced its version of Microsoft Copilot, Duet AI, at Google I/O in May. Duet AI is an assistant that is integrated across Google Workspace, including applications such as Google Docs, Slides, Meet, Gmail, Chat, and more. 

Also: 35% of college students are using AI tools to help them with their studies

Duet AI in Google Workplace was made generally available for enterprises in August. Users can request a trial by completing this form, which asks for the number of employees at the interested user's organization, whether they are a Google Workspace customer, and contact details. 

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