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Microsoft integrates its Copilot chatbot across entire product line

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At a digital event for commercial customers and partners, Microsoft on Thursday announced a flurry of generative AI (genAI) updates, including the addition of Copilot throughout its entire product line and new Surface laptops optimized to use AI tools.

The company launched its ChatGPT-powered Copilot bot for the Microsoft 365 (M365) cloud productivity platform one year ago. Today, it announced Copilot for Windows 11, allowing users to access the chatbot while working online and in Windows apps.

Users can find a Copilot icon in the Windows taskbar or press the Windows logo key  + C for access. Some new hardware models have a dedicated Copilot key.

Microsoft also added the chatbot’s capabilities to its Teams messaging app, allowing users to ask Copilot to summarize what’s happened in a meeting; it will summarize who said what and include any key points. Copilot can also be asked what questions remain unanswered.

With the assistance of Copilot, users can get answers and solutions to queries, draft emails, generate images from text prompts, receive writing suggestions, and create to-do-lists, among other capabilities.

“With Windows 10 end of support coming in October 2025, now is the time to move to Windows 11 with a new Surface for business device and with Windows 365, and the best way to get there is using cloud management in Intune,” Melissa Grant, Microsoft’s senior director of product marketing for Windows Enterprise, wrote in a blog.

Copilot in M365 capabilities are now available in Windows 11, allowing users to  select “Work” to enable Copilot in M365; it functions across the entire universe of data at work, including emails, meetings, chats, documents and more, plus the web, Grant said.

The company also announced two new AI-enabled Surface for Business laptops, the Surface Pro 10 for Business and the Surface Laptop 6 for Business; both will become available in April.

By “optimized,” Microsoft means it has added a Copilot key to the keypad, which opens the chatbot for quick use. The Copilot key is located on the right side of the keypad between the Alt key and arrows.

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Microsoft has added a Copilot key to its upcoming Surface for Business laptops, the Surface Pro 10 for Business and the Surface Laptop 6 for Business.

“Surface has also been leading in Neural Processing Unit (NPU) integration to drive AI experiences on the PC since 2019, and the benefits of these connected efforts are evident,” Nancie Gaskill, Microsoft’s general manager for Surface products, wrote in a blog. “From a performance perspective, Surface Laptop 6 is 2x faster than Laptop 5, and Surface Pro 10 is up to 53% faster than Pro 9.

“The benefits of the NPU integration include AI features like Windows Studio Effects and Live Captions and the opportunity for businesses and developers to build their own AI apps and experiences.,” she added.

NPUs are designed for use by genAI, as they support a heterogeneous mix of processors, such as central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs), to handle performance requirements. The CPU chiplet, for example, is better suited for sequential operations and more real-time processing, while the GPU works best for streaming parallel data.

NPUs are designed for core AI workloads and are optimized to for complex computations required by deep learning algorithms, making them incredibly efficient at processing AI tasks, such as natural language processing, and image analysis.

“We’re excited for what the future holds, and there’s never been a better time for organizations to get AI ready now — including upgrading to Windows 11 and get Windows 365 to deliver Copilot across every device, to every employee, more securely and adopting the latest Surface for businesses devices optimized for Copilot and AI,” Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for modern work and business applications, wrote in a blog.

Copyright © 2024 IDG Communications, Inc.

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