Microsoft is now charging for Copilot: New Pro AI is $20 monthly to make it faster and better

The inevitable happens as Microsoft forks Copilot into a free version and an improved Copilot Pro with GPT-4 Turbo, better image skills and more.

2 minutes & 28 seconds read time

We've only just heard a rumor that Microsoft was going to introduce Copilot Pro, a subscription version of the AI, and it's officially happened.

Copilot Pro will cost $20 per month and is aimed at individual users who want the best AI experience, or as Microsoft puts it:

"Whether you need advanced help with writing, coding, designing, researching or learning, Copilot Pro brings greater performance, productivity and creativity."

What do you get for your money? As mentioned in the leak yesterday, one of the major selling points is access to the latest AI models, and with this initial incarnation of Copilot Pro, users will get the benefit of GPT-4 Turbo (for faster and more accurate responses to queries).

Microsoft let us know that GPT-4 Turbo was incoming for Copilot back in November 2023, but what we didn't know, and have just found out, is that it'll be exclusive to Pro subscribers - those on the freebie Copilot will remain on standard GPT-4.

Copilot Pro subscribers also get a seamless experience across all devices - including phones "soon" we're told - and apps. In the latter case, Microsoft says it's adding Copilot to Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, and OneNote (for those who also subscribe to Microsoft 365, on the Personal or Family plans).

Another boon for Copilot Pro users is enhanced image creation (with the Bing Image Creator being renamed as Image Creator from Designer) that'll happen faster, with 100 'boosts' per day available, delivering higher-quality images (and support for landscape pics to boot).

Finally, the other major piece of the puzzle for the subscription version of Copilot is GPT Builder, which allows for the concoction of customized Copilot bots to address a specific area of interest (like a fitness trainer AI, or a cooking assistant). Doing so is easy, by the sound of things, but we don't yet know how this will work exactly. Also, it's not in Copilot Pro yet, and is labeled as "coming soon" by Microsoft.

Taking care of business

Businesses are getting Copilot for Microsoft 365 made available to more organizations, as the 300-seat minimum purchase is being abandoned. In other words, this opens up the service to small businesses. SMBs that have Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Business Standard subscriptions can sign up for as little as just a single seat at a cost of $30 per person monthly.

Microsoft tells us that its AI has now served more than 5 billion images and facilitated 5 billion chats globally, and if the software giant has anything to do with it, there'll be a lot more than that going forward.

How users react to the new paid and free split, we shall see, although to be fair, nothing really changes with the freebie Copilot. By which we mean, it'll stay as it is - as still a useful service - presumably with upgrades remaining one step behind Copilot Pro as we move forward. (So GPT-4 Turbo will come to free users when Pro subscribers move on to GPT-5, which is expected later this year, for example).

Although we don't know that for sure yet, of course, and whether Microsoft might bring even further differentiation in as time progresses, or invent new features specifically for Copilot Pro only (which is, let's face it, pretty likely).

Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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