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Microsoft's pricey AI assistant Copilot is giving some early adopters buyer's remorse

Geoff Weiss   

Microsoft's pricey AI assistant Copilot is giving some early adopters buyer's remorse
  • Some early adopters of Microsoft's AI assistant, Copilot, are less than impressed, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • The first users balked at the hefty costs and said the AI would hallucinate wrong answers.

Microsoft is making a big bet on AI with its newly launched generative AI assistant Copilot, but some early adopters have been less than impressed.

Copilot — a team-up between Microsoft and OpenAI — plugs into Microsoft's ubiquitous suite of apps including Word, Outlook, Teams, PowerPoint, and Excel to generate documents and presentations and summarize meetings and emails.

It's been available for roughly six months.

Some companies testing Copilot loved that it saved them time.

Chemicals company Dow, which plans to roll out Copilot to half of its 35,900 employees by year's end, praised the tool's “tremendous efficiency gains” — a sentiment echoed by another early adopter, Lenovo, according to The Wall Street Journal.

But others aren't sure Copilot is worth the $30-per-person pricetag (on top of a Microsoft 365 subscription), the Journal reported.

Copilot's Excel and PowerPoint integrations weren't always reliable or accurate, critics told the WSJ. Others said the AI hallucinated wrong answers or calculated spreadsheets wrong, according to the outlet.

Some AI experts said on social media that Copilot made bizarre suggestions for weekend meetings and messed up while making PowerPoint slides.

A rep for hardware maker Juniper, which has been testing Copilot since November, told the Journal that it wasn't prepared to purchase the product for its entire workforce.

Jared Spataro, Microsoft's corporate VP of modern work and business applications, told Business Insider that customers are finding immediate value in Copilot, though he acknowledged the complexity of the product given "AI is unlike any technology we've seen before."

"In just three months, 70 percent of users are more productive, and 68 percent say Microsoft Copilot improves the quality of their work," Spataro said of early users in a statement. "We are listening to customer feedback and will continue to work hard to make Copilot even better over time."

Microsoft began rolling out Copilot in November and made companies commit to a minimum of 300 subscriptions.

In January, it opened up subscriptions to smaller groups. And earlier this month, the techgiant rolled out Copilot internally, Business Insider's Ashley Stewart reported at the time.

Microsoft is going all in on its vision for an AI future, investing $13 billion in OpenAI.

On Sunday, it promoted Copilot in its first Super Bowl commercial in four years, while CEO Satya Nadella has previously gushed about Copilot, likening it to the adoption of the personal computer.

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