Leaked memo: Microsoft employees should be using Copilot too

It's all part of a push to get more devs using AI tools

While blasting customers with the promise of AI, Microsoft is now telling its employees to tiptoe into the brave new world too.

In a message seen by Business Insider, Microsoft is trying to persuade staff, including developers, that upping their use of AI is a good thing.

A memo sent by Microsoft's Strategic Missions and Technologies organization confirms an internal pilot was run to up AI usage internally. The business also held a series of hackathons to inform staff of the best ways to deploy AI.

Frank Shaw, a spokesperson for Microsoft, says the roll-out across the workforce is nearly done - meaning more than 220,000 test victims are set to extol the virtues of AI as a productivity aid. Or maybe not.

Microsoft, like its tech megacorp peers, has placed a big bet on AI. The hype around the technology has driven its valuation to new highs, although that has yet to translate into similarly stratospheric revenues. Microsoft's most recent results left markets unimpressed despite the company registering double-digit growth in many areas.

Executives steered clear of specifics around the contribution of AI to its bottom line during a call to discuss the latest quarterly results.

The Redmond giant also unveiled some eye-watering pricing for its Copilot tools. In November 2023, it announced that Microsoft 365 Copilot would cost E3 or E5 subscribers another $30 per user per month, with a minimum purchase of 300 seats. That minimum was removed in January, and the company also announced Copilot Pro for Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscribers for a mere $20 per month.

To put that cost into context, Microsoft 365 Personal can be purchased for $6.99 per month.

The company is not alone in its efforts to recoup some of its AI investment. On February 8, Google announced that users would be able to access its "most capable AI model" in the form of Gemini Advanced. Naturally, Google makes all the usual claims around its service – help for coding, an assistant for creatives, or a personal tutor – but also wants payment. Gemini Advanced is part of Google's $19.99 per month Google One AI Premium Plan.

That Microsoft should be rolling out its AI services to its internal teams is not surprising, but the timing is interesting. Readers might have reasonably expected Microsoft to be some way past the pilot stage by now, particularly considering how hard it is pushing AI services to customers.

The Register asked Microsoft to confirm precisely how widespread the use of Copilot and other AI technologies is within the company. ®

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