Funding AI chatbots is expensive, and Microsoft will ask those users who want the latest features of its Copilot AI chatbot to subscribe to a new plan: Copilot Pro, available for $20 per user per month.
Microsoft’s Copilot isn’t going away as a free service. And the new Copilot Pro subscription doesn’t appear to be placing any limits on or restricting users of the free tier, except in one small way. Instead, it’s offering consumers access to some of the Copilot features that businesses have access to, plus a cohesive Copilot experience.
Some users have noticed that Microsoft is quietly upgrading the general version of Copilot to a model known as GPT-4 Turbo, OpenAI’s latest version. While OpenAI’s link provides significant technical detail, it essentially allows input up to 300 pages of text, and requires between two to three times less computational power. Its knowledge is current up to April 2023. More importantly, it’s significantly faster.
Unfortunately, the Copilot you’re “talking” to may not have access to GPT-4 Turbo, and probably never will. Instead, the latest model will be reserved for Copilot Pro. Part of the Pro subscription will include “access to the very latest models,” so presumably Pro users will get OpenAI’s best and brightest, and then they’ll later trickle down to the free tier.
A cohesive experience, including business Copilots
That’s the only real wrench that Microsoft has thrown into the works, however. The Copilot Pro experience should now work much like Bing is supposed to, with your Favorites and search history spanning across phones and PCs. Microsoft previously introduced Android and iOS versions of Copilot, and now both apps have arrived in general availability.
Knowing what site you searched for on your phone and transferring that information to your PC is one thing. Copilot should carry over conversations from one device to another. A Microsoft blog post notes that this single AI experience should begin on your PC and your apps, and “soon” on your phone, though, soon it isn’t here yet.
The more interesting hook is that the Copilot Pro subscription will be the way that general consumers can access the Copilots for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, and Outlook — but not Teams. Note, a Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscription in required. Normally, Microsoft 365 Copilot offers those same capabilities to businesses for $30 per month. We’ve never tested the Microsoft 365 Copilot, so we can’t attest to the value of that feature in Copilot Pro.
But we were right: That $30 business subscription was a bad omen for Microsoft’s consumer pricing.
Custom Copilots and images, too
Microsoft is also offering a couple of additional features to spice up Copilot Pro. For one, you’ll receive 100 “boosts” per day in Image Creator from Designer, essentially allowing you to create 100 images per day at full speed, rather than a lesser number per month.
Copilot Pro also promises users the options of creating custom Copilots: Bots which are designed to interact with you on a specific topic — perhaps ancient civilizations, for example, or financial advice. That feature, however, is coming soon.