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Microsoft Office's AI tools are an expensive investment, as Bing Chat goes enterprise

Microsoft Bing Chat Enterprise

Microsoft is going big with artificial intelligence, and the company isn't slowing down anytime soon as it unveils not only just how much it will cost for AI to write your next business email, but also a brand new Bing Chat experience for enterprise workers.

During Microsoft Inspire, the company unveiled two new features related to existing products — Bing Chat Enterprise and the ability to search with images within Bing Chat, not just with text.

The future of AI-powered Office is not cheap. Microsoft announced that Microsoft 365 Copilot will cost $30 per user, per month, for Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard, and Business Premium customers.

Those additional charges nearly double the monthly price, per user, for companies that are paying for 365 E3. Office 365 E3 already costs $36 per user, per month.

It's an even bigger investment for Microsoft 365 Standard customers, as that service costs just $12.50 per user, per month.

For businesses that do sign up for the AI-powered helper, Copilot is designed to summarize documents, speed up examinations of Excel sheets, and even generate whole emails. Microsoft's head of consumer marketing, Yusuf Mehdi, said in the announcement today that folks who have been testing Copilot are even more excited about what the future looks like for the AI tool:

"In May, we announced the expansion of our Microsoft 365 Copilot paid Early Access Program to 600 enterprise customers worldwide, including companies like KPMG, Lumen, and Emirates NBD. We're learning that the more customers use Copilot, the more their enthusiasm for Copilot grows. Soon, no one will want to work without it."

As it stands right now, the only thing missing is an actual release date to the wider business base for Copilot 365, but Microsoft says an announcement on that front will happen soon.

Bing Chat for the enterprise

In addition to that, Microsoft also unveiled Bing Chat Enterprise. This is basically the Bing Chat experience that's been available for a few months now, but with built-in protections for enterprise data.

Microsoft says whatever data comes in, or out, will be protected with commercial data protection. The only people that will have access to that enterprise data is the businesses itself, not even Microsoft will have eyes-on access.

Microsoft also notes that Bing Chat Enterprise will not use that enterprise data as a training model for future responses.

Bing Chat Enterprise is rolling out now for Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard and Business Premium, at no additional cost. The company says it will launch later as a standalone product for $5 per user, per month.

Search visually with Bing Chat

Finally, there's new search abilities in Bing Chat. Visual Search in Bing Chat relies on GPT-4's model, and gives users the ability to quickly load a picture into Bing Chat and ask the AI helper to tell the user about it.

This means folks can take a picture of a piece of architecture in a foreign city that they want to know more about, or even use an image of the contents of their fridge to get dinner suggestions.

Bing's new visual search in chat is rolling out now.

While it seems like every other major tech company is putting all their eggs in an AI-generated text basket, Apple appears to only be testing the waters in that regards at the moment. The company has put a focus on hiring individuals who have, at the very least, an interest in generative AI, which may signal some kind of future with more AI elements mixed in.