Microsoft sets a high price on Copilot, the AI-powered future of Office documents

Microsoft is putting a price on the AI-powered future of Office documents, and it’s a steep price for businesses looking to adopt Microsoft’s latest technology. Microsoft 365 Copilot will be available for $30 per user per month for Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard and Business Premium customers.

That’s a huge premium over the cost of the existing Microsoft 365 plans right now. Microsoft charges businesses $36 per user per month for Microsoft 365 E3, which includes access to Office apps, Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, and many other productivity features. A $30 premium for access to Microsoft 365 Copilot will nearly double the cost for businesses subscribing to E3 that want these AI-powered features. For Microsoft 365 Business Standard, that’s nearly three times the cost, given that it’s $12.50 per user per month.

Copilot can be displayed in Word to generate text or change paragraphs.
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft is trying to overhaul its Office apps with its AI-powered Copilot service, allowing businesses to instantly summarize documents, generate emails and speed up Excel analysis. Microsoft 365 Copilot certainly looks like a very compelling feature addition, and I truly believe it will change Office documents forever, but the cost may prevent many existing Microsoft 365 businesses from adopting Copilot in the short term.

Around 600 business customers have tested Microsoft 365 Copilot under a paid early access program in recent months. Companies such as KPMG, Lumen and Emirates NBD have all had access. “We’re learning that the more customers use Copilot, the more their enthusiasm for Copilot grows,” Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s head of consumer marketing, said in a blog post today. “Soon no one will want to work without it.”

However, Microsoft has not yet set a release date for Microsoft 365 Copilot. The software giant will also face competition from Google. Microsoft’s Copilot announcement came just days after Google announced similar AI features for Google Workspace earlier this year, including AI-assisted text generation in Gmail, Docs and more. Zoom and Salesforce have also added AI-powered features, so all eyes will now be on how Google, Zoom, and Salesforce handle pricing for their AI additions going forward.

Copilot can also handle generating long and short emails.
Image: Microsoft

Part of the reason Microsoft 365 Copilot is priced high is because of the investment Microsoft has made to build out its AI-powered offerings. Microsoft has invested billions in its OpenAI partnership to get this off the ground. Tech companies like Microsoft have also sought out Nvidia GPUs to power these functions, so there’s a premium on what tasks this infrastructure will be thrown at until chip availability and costs come down. Microsoft is reportedly working on its own AI chips in an effort to avoid a costly dependence on Nvidia.

Microsoft is also bringing this Copilot experience to Teams, with integration into the Teams phone calling experience and into Teams Chat threads. You can read more about these new Microsoft Teams Copilot features here.

Alongside the pricing announcement, Microsoft is also launching Bing Chat Enterprise. It’s essentially the same Bing Chat available to consumers, but with added commercial data protection. Microsoft is previewing this today, and it’s included at no extra cost in Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard, and Business Premium. You can read more about Bing Chat Enterprise here.

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