Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaking with CNBC on Nov. 15th, 2023.
Microsoft said Thursday it will soon start testing the Copilot chatbot in an update to the widely used Windows 10 operating system.
Microsoft on Oct. 31 started rolling out an update that features Copilot to Windows 11, its latest operating system. But among Windows PCs, Windows 11 has about 27% share, and Windows 10 leads with about 68%, according to StatCounter estimates.
Technology companies large and small have mobilized to bring out capabilities similar to that of ChatGPT, the hugely popular chatbot released last year by Microsoft-backed OpenAI.
ChatGPT, with 100 million weekly active users, employs generative artificial intelligence, which counts on large language models trained on web data to create images, audio and text with a few words of human instruction. The chatbots can answer questions, summarize documents and compose email drafts.
Windows remains a central, lucrative part of Microsoft’s lineup, and the company is taking a careful approach to deploying Copilot there, compared with the Bing search engine, Edge browser and Dynamics business software, where it has moved more speedily. In Windows, Copilot can serve as “the everyday AI companion,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said on an October conference call with analysts.
Microsoft wants to determine how Copilot on Windows 10 may differ from Windows 11 and will find ways to boost quality and performance, Aaron Woodman, a vice president, said during a media briefing this week.
The company has been treading carefully when bringing Copilot to its Office apps as well. It started selling licenses to Copilot for Microsoft 365 subscriptions earlier this month after a monthslong early access program.
Microsoft will offer Copilot to PCs in the Release Preview Channel running Windows 10, version 22H2. It will only be available for Home and Pro editions of the operating system. But PCs running Windows 10 Pro that organizations manage won’t be part of the initial Copilot distribution. Nor will PCs with enterprise and education editions of the operating system, according to a blog post.
Those interested in the feature can open the Settings app, navigate to Update & Security and choose Windows Update. From there, they can turn on the switch labeled “Get the latest updates as soon as they’re available” and click the “Check for updates” button.
Once Copilot has arrived, a new button will show up on the right side of the Windows taskbar. Clicking it will open a chat window on the right side of the screen. It will be similar to the Copilot in Bing and won’t be able to perform as many PC-related functions as the Copilot in Windows 11, because some elements of Windows 11 aren’t present in Windows 10, Woodman said. Windows 10 also has lower system requirements.
Windows 10 support ends in October 2025. After that, many organizations are likely to upgrade their PCs to Windows 11.
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