Published On: Sun, Mar 17th, 2024

Another blow for Windows 11 users as Microsoft charges £19 for latest update

Microsoft is expanding the availability of its latest Windows 11 update to hundreds of countries worldwide, but there’s a catch – you’ll have to pay £19 per month if you want to use it. The PC giant is pushing out its new artificial intelligence (AI) assistant Copilot to all Windows 11 computers, but if you want the full version you need to pay up.

Many tech firms are introducing AI perks into their products after the technology has become easier to explain to consumers. Microsoft is pushing Copilot as a new kind of digital assistant, similar to Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant, but suggests it is more advanced because of the behind-the-scenes AI that can answer very quickly in text format.

The free basic version of Copilot is available on Windows 11 PCs now and lets you type questions like you would into a search engine and get quick results. It shows you the online sources where it has gathered information, or also things such as shopping links if your query is about something you can buy.

This currently works on the desktop of Windows computers but if you want to use Copilot inside popular Microsoft apps such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint then you need the £19 per month Copilot Pro. This means you can ask the AI to tidy up your cover letter, improve certain slides in a presentation, or analyse data in your spreadsheets.

“With a Copilot Pro subscription, individuals gain the most advanced features and capabilities of Microsoft Copilot to supercharge their Copilot experience,” said Microsoft’s Divya Kumar, General Manager, Search and AI Marketing in a blog post.

“This includes priority access to top-of-the-line models, AI capabilities in Microsoft 365 apps (a Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscription is required to access Copilot in desktop apps), better image generation and editing capabilities, and access to Microsoft Copilot GPT Builder.”

Copilot runs on what is known as a large language model (LLM), an advanced chatbot that can not only perform internet searches but also create text and images on demand based on your cues. It’s similar to the popular ChatGPT program that’s also developed by tech firm OpenAI.

Microsoft says if you want to try out Copilot Pro you can sign up for a free trial using the iOS or Android apps – a sure sign the company is keen to get more people using its AI on mobile rather than just on their laptops.

You can access some of these Copilot features if you have a Microsoft 365 subscription and use the web app version of Microsoft Office. Getting the £19 subscription allows you to use Copilot Pro in desktop apps too.

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