Microsoft Corp. said its AI assistant for Windows will start rolling out September 26 and the Office AI app will be widely available November 1 as the software giant continues to bake generative artificial intelligence into its products.
Microsoft’s Copilot-branded AI assistants will provide a unified experience across operating systems, applications and devices, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Thursday at an event in New York. For example, Microsoft showed how a user can ask Copilot to find a flight booking from text messages.
“We’ve seen that the most magical and empowering moments people have experienced with AI is when it’s informed with the context that extends way beyond what’s in front of them,” Nadella said. “This requires that what we think of today as separate categories - search, productivity, operating systems devices - all come together and evolve.”
For the past year, the Redmond, Washington-based software maker has been retooling its biggest products around AI technology that can generate new content from massive datasets. That list now includes Windows, Office, Bing search, security software and customer and finance products. The work heavily leverages the GPT-4 technology from OpenAI, in which Microsoft has invested $13 billion.
Microsoft rivals including Alphabet Inc. and Salesforce Inc. are working on their own products to help customers make use of the latest AI technology aimed at speeding up and automating some tasks.
The Office product, unveiled in March, has been in testing with about 600 customers and will cost $30 per user a month on top of what most business customers already pay. The product lets workers uses data from the web as well as a company’s internal information, to do things like analyse spreadsheets, generate slide shows and predict future business issues.
Microsoft announced the Windows product in May, saying it would be accessible from a PC screen taskbar button that opens a side panel customers can use as an assistant. The tool lets one copy and paste text, as well as rewrite, summarise and explain content, among other tasks. Windows users can also ask the Copilot questions as they can with the Bing AI chat.
The company also showed how a user can copy an email with information on things to do nearby, and the Copilot seamlessly provided locations for each. The software can automatically show the distance in time rather than miles if the user says they prefer to walk. Microsoft said it’s also testing the Office AI tools with a group of consumers and small businesses.