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Microsoft delivers Copilot Pro, eliminates 300 seat minimum

Copilot Pro, a faster version of Microsoft's AI tool, debuts with features such as 'roll your own GPT,' where users can build custom LLMs, along with looser license requirements.

Microsoft released Copilot AI assistant mobile apps for iOS and Android as well as Copilot Pro, a faster version with more features.

Also, in a move that could drive Copilot adoption, Microsoft lifted the 300-seat minimum that was required for commercial plans, which had been in effect since it was made generally available on Nov. 1. The move makes Copilot available for Office 365 E3 and E5 customers who might not have a Microsoft 365 license.

Jason Wong, an analyst at Gartner, pointed out that many enterprises need to buy fewer than 300 seats so IT staff can evaluate Copilot. Enterprises are still determining what Copilot rollouts will look like in their Windows environments and getting to know how it fits in with their data governance, data security policies and other tools.

"Very few companies, especially when you're talking about the enterprise level -- whether it's midsize or large -- are going to go wall-to-wall with Microsoft 365 Copilot licenses [yet]," Wong said. "But we do see strong interest pretty much across the board even in areas where it's not available yet, such as in government."

Millions of people have used Copilot so far, and have engaged the chatbot with more than five billion chats, claimed Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft executive vice president and consumer chief marketing officer in a blog post.

Ultimately, Wong said, lifting the seat restriction is likely to get more companies to consider Copilot. Some of the AI chatbot's features come free with Windows 11, but commercial licenses open a deeper feature set and tighter integration with Microsoft 365. It adds a $30 per user per month annual commitment on top of Microsoft 365 licensing.

Example screens of the Microsoft Copilot mobile app.
Copilot's mobile app challenges AI assistants from Apple and Google with its breadth of AI features, image recognition and text analysis.

Copilot Pro aimed at individual users

Copilot Pro is for individual subscribers and requires a $20/month add-on subscription to Microsoft 365 Personal or Family licenses. It offers the features that enterprise users get plus the ability to create images; integration with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote on PC, Mac and iPad; and priority access to the latest OpenAI models, which currently is ChatGPT-4 Turbo.

Those features are available now. Coming soon is the capability for users to build their own GPT models to match their department's lingo and workflow. Previous versions of Copilot and ChatGPT plugins and API integrations did not allow for such granular training.

"For the enterprise, this really allows the business and users -- who are called 'citizen developers' these days -- to introduce specific content to their role or team or their cohort or group," Wong said.

"Custom GPTs enable an individual or team to say, 'Here's our shared basis of knowledge, and this is what we should refer to and have Copilot act upon.' Whenever [employees] ask questions, they can know it is grounded in this particular source of truth," he said.

Microsoft also released a Copilot mobile app for Google Android and Apple iOS phones. It is a standalone version of Copilot, yet it tracks queries and responses across PC, Microsoft 365 apps and mobile devices to keep users' information together as they complete tasks and workflows.

Don Fluckinger covers digital experience management, end-user computing, CPUs and assorted other topics for TechTarget Editorial. Got a tip? Email him here.

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