By Jeffrey Dastin
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Microsoft on Monday said consumers and small businesses can buy subscriptions to access more capabilities in its artificial intelligence "Copilot," as it moves to grow sales beyond large enterprises.
After introducing a free AI Copilot for its Bing search engine last year, Microsoft will offer what it calls Copilot Pro to individuals for $20 a month.
The subscription will add a text-drafting, number-crunching AI assistant to Microsoft's widely used applications including Word and Excel, and it will give purchasers access to new tools and AI models such as GPT-4 Turbo.
The company also said it was removing a 300-person minimum requirement to buy the enterprise version of the software, making the security controls and Microsoft Teams upgrade that come with the $30 per-month per-user Copilot available to smaller businesses.
Microsoft now expects virtually all of its business customers to sign up, Corporate Vice President Jared Spataro said in an interview.
"I can't imagine a commercial organisation out there that will not buy at least a seat of Copilot to see what it's all about," he said.
Alphabet's Google is competing with Microsoft in marketing AI for productivity and cloud software to business customers.
Microsoft's Copilot Pro is also entering an increasingly competitive consumer market. ChatGPT's creator OpenAI, which Microsoft has funded, announced a $20-per-month subscription nearly a year ago called ChatGPT Plus that gives early access to new features and AI models.
Spataro said Copilot Pro would stand apart because it is integrated into applications that "people use every day".
(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)