November 17, 2023
Microsoft Ignite 2023 was all about the transformative change of artificial intelligence, and the event was the setting for Bing Chat’s debut as Bing Copilot. The company also introduced three additional Copilot offerings: Copilot for Azure, Copilot for Service and Copilot in Dynamics 365 Guides. The new Copilot Studio gained tools for connecting Copilots in Microsoft 365 apps — including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, the Edge browser and Windows — to third-party data. In addition, the company showcased software for client-configured chatbots, and introduced its first custom designed AI processor, the Maia 100 chip.
“As we accelerate further into AI, Microsoft is rethinking cloud infrastructure to ensure optimization across every layer of the hardware and software stack,” the company explained in an Ignite blog post that claimed there were “about 100” AI-related news announcements on day one of the event.
Copilot for Azure, now in preview, is a chat assistant for cloud customers, comparable to the Duet AI in Google Cloud. “Microsoft Copilot for Azure is integrated into the Azure platform, right into the Azure portal where IT teams work,” Azure Corporate Product and Design VP Erin Chapple told TechCrunch, adding that “through a unified chat experience, they can easily ask questions, get insights into their workloads, infrastructure and cloud functionality and take action.”
The Maia 100 chip “will provide Microsoft Azure cloud customers with a new way to develop and run AI programs that generate content,” writes Bloomberg, noting that “Microsoft is already testing the chip with its Bing and Office AI products,” per VP Rani Borkar, who oversees Azure’s chip unit.
“Microsoft’s main AI partner, ChatGPT maker OpenAI, is also testing the processor,” Bloomberg reports, adding that “both Maia and the server chip, Cobalt, will debut in some Microsoft data centers early next year.”
As for the Bing Chat switch to Bing Copilot, Mashable describes it as more “refinement” than redesign: Bing Copilot “now has its own standalone webpage,” accessible at copilot.microsoft.com. The rebrand reflects a “vision to create a unified Copilot experience for consumer and commercial customers” across about a dozen interrelated products, per TechCrunch.
“Copilot, Microsoft’s brand of generative AI technologies, promises to be a big moneymaker for the company, with one analyst predicting that it could generate $10 billion in annualized revenue by 2026,” TechCrunch writes, adding that “40 percent of companies in the Fortune 100 were testing Copilot by fall, according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.”
Forrester predicts that in 2024 roughly 6.9 million U.S. knowledge workers will be using Microsoft Copilot with one or more apps.
Microsoft Ignite 2023: The Biggest News In Data, Cloud, Security, CRN, 11/15/23
Microsoft Debuts New Unified Security Solution with Security Copilot, The Verge, 11/15/23
Nvidia CEO Huang Says Microsoft Is Now ‘More Collaborative and Partner-Oriented’, CRN, 11/16/23
Microsoft Launches a Deepfakes Creator at Ignite 2023 Event, TechCrunch, 11/15/23
Microsoft’s Copilot AI Is Officially Coming to Windows 10, Engadget, 11/16/23
Microsoft Offers AI-Powered Customer Service for Blind Users, Bloomberg, 11/15/23
Microsoft Teams Gets an AI-Powered Home Decorator, Voice Isolation, TechCrunch, 11/15/23