The capabilities of Copilot Pro within Microsoft 365 include text generation, editing, summarisation and text generation in Word and OneNote Wikimedia Commons

In a strategic move to further integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into its suite of productivity tools, Microsoft has unveiled significant updates to its Copilot platform.

Copilot, the umbrella brand for Microsoft's AI-powered content-generation technologies, is poised to become a pivotal revenue stream for the tech giant.

With over 40 per cent of Fortune 100 companies participating in the Copilot early access program, Microsoft is keen on transforming Copilot from an expenditure into a reliable revenue generator. The company is launching a consumer-focused paid plan, Copilot Pro, and expanding accessibility to enterprise-level offerings.

These developments are aimed at enticing a broader audience of potential paying customers while enhancing the appeal of Microsoft's existing services.

At the forefront of Microsoft's latest offerings is the Copilot Pro plan, designed for consumers seeking advanced AI features. Priced at $20 per user per month, Copilot Pro provides access to Copilot GenAI features across Microsoft's key applications, including Word, Excel (in preview, currently available only in English), PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote.

Notably, Copilot Pro is not bundled with a Microsoft 365 subscription; instead, it is a premium add-on, bringing the total cost of the lowest-tier Microsoft 365 subscription to $27 per month.

The Copilot Pro plan inherits the same capabilities available to enterprise customers. In Word and OneNote, Copilot assists with writing, editing, summarising and generating text. In Excel and PowerPoint, it transforms natural language commands into visually appealing presentations and data visualisations. Additionally, Copilot aids in drafting email responses in Outlook, with toggles for adjusting length or tone.

Copilot Pro subscribers receive 100 daily "boosts" in Designer, Microsoft's AI-powered image creation tool, speeding up the image generation process. They also enjoy enhanced generation quality, landscape formatting options, and priority access to the latest GenAI models, including OpenAI's GPT-4 Turbo, promising better performance during peak usage times.

Microsoft plans to allow Copilot Pro subscribers to switch between models based on preferences and utilise the upcoming Copilot GPT Builder for more customized AI assistance tailored to specific topics.

Simultaneously, Microsoft is expanding Copilot's availability for businesses. The platform is now generally accessible for organisations subscribed to Microsoft 365 Business Premium, Microsoft 365 Business Standard, Microsoft 365 E3 and E5, or Office 365 E3 and Office E5. Notably, the previous requirement of a 300-user minimum purchase and a Microsoft 365 license has been eliminated.

Enterprise Copilot customers receive additional benefits, such as Copilot integration with Teams. This feature provides real-time summaries and action items within Teams, facilitating tasks such as identifying individuals for follow-ups and creating meeting agendas.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 also boasts "enterprise-grade data protection" and the Semantic Index, a backend system creating a map of an organisation's data and content. This mapping enables Copilot to deliver more personalised and relevant responses.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 users can access expanded customisation options through Copilot Studio, a robust version of Copilot GPT Builder unveiled in November. Copilot Studio empowers users to build custom chatbots and plugins, allowing fine-tuning with first-party company data.

While Microsoft is making strides with paid Copilot plans, it continues to offer free features for users. The company has launched Copilot GPTs, specialised for topics such as fitness, travel and cooking. These GPTs are accessible on the web client for Copilot.

Microsoft has also introduced a free mobile app for Copilot, available on Android and iOS. This app grants users access to GPT-4, DALL-E 3 for image creation and the ability to use images on a phone while interacting with Copilot. Chat history synchronisation between mobile, PC and web platforms is also enabled.

Furthermore, Microsoft plans to integrate Copilot into the Microsoft 365 mobile app for Android and iOS, allowing users to export content created with Copilot to Word or PDF documents.

In a move to enhance global accessibility, Microsoft is expanding the number of languages supported by Copilot. In the first half of 2024, Copilot will be available in Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish and Ukrainian.