Microsoft has announced a new version of its popular Microsoft 365 service that will include generative artificial intelligence (AI) features, such as chatbots, language models and coding assistants.
iexclusivenews reports that these features will help users automate tasks, create content and get answers faster. But they come at a cost: $30 a month.
Why Generative AI is Worth The Price
Generative AI is a technology that can produce new content or data based on existing information. For example, a generative AI chatbot can generate natural and engaging responses to user queries, while a generative AI language model can write texts on any topic or style.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that generative AI is the third leg of Office, after applications like Word and Excel and cloud services like Teams. He said that generative AI will bring a new dimension of value to Microsoft 365, by increasing productivity and efficiency for workers.
Microsoft 365 Copilot will be the first commercial product to use Meta’s LLaMA family of open-source large language models, which are considered to be among the best in the industry. Meta has previously licensed LLaMA for research purposes only, but has now partnered with Microsoft to bring it to the mass market.
How Microsoft 365 Copilot will work
Microsoft 365 Copilot will offer a range of generative AI features that will integrate with the existing Microsoft 365 applications. Some of these features are:
– Chatbot: A business-grade version of the chatbot that Microsoft added to its Bing search engine earlier this year. The chatbot will allow users to ask questions and get answers from their Microsoft 365 data, such as emails, documents and spreadsheets. The chatbot will also respect the privacy and security of the data, unlike some other chatbots that may leak sensitive information.
– Language model: A powerful tool that can generate texts on any topic or style, based on user input or context. The language model can help users write emails, reports, summaries, presentations and more. The language model can also adapt to different tones, formats and audiences, depending on the user’s preferences and goals.
– Coding assistant: A smart assistant that can help users write code faster and better, based on their specifications and requirements. The coding assistant can suggest code snippets, complete code lines, fix errors and optimize performance. The coding assistant is based on GitHub Copilot, which Microsoft launched earlier this year for developers.
How to get Microsoft 365 Copilot
Microsoft 365 Copilot will be available as an optional add-on for existing Microsoft 365 customers, starting from early next year. The add-on will cost $30 a month per user, which is a significant increase from the current average monthly cost of business-grade versions of Microsoft 365, which range from $8.25 to $20.
Microsoft said that the price reflects the value and innovation that generative AI brings to its productivity software. The company also said that it has seen positive results from its GitHub Copilot service, which has made coders more productive and satisfied.
However, some analysts have said that the price is higher than expected and may deter some customers from adopting the new features. They also said that Microsoft will need to prove that generative AI can actually improve productivity and quality for workers, without causing information overload or ethical issues.
Microsoft 365 Copilot is expected to face competition from other generative AI services in the market, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s LaMDA. However, Microsoft has an advantage of having a large and loyal customer base for its Microsoft 365 service, which could give it an edge in the generative AI race.
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