At its Ignite 2023 conference, Microsoft announced it is renaming Bing Chat, the AI chatbot feature launched on Bing this year, to now be called Copilot in Bing. Additionally, the premium enterprise version Bing Chat Enterprise is being rebranded as just Copilot.
According to Microsoft, this rebranding aims to create consistency across its growing range of Copilot AI products for both regular consumers and commercial users. However, the name change also suggests Bing Chat failed to gain traction and Microsoft is looking to reinvigorate its AI chatbot under the more popular Copilot brand.
Copilot Brand Becomes Umbrella for Microsoft AI Products
When unveiled in February, Bing Chat was seen as Microsoft’s answer to ChatGPT. However, Bing failed to steal search market share from Google despite the buzzy chatbot addition.
By aligning Bing Chat with the well-known Copilot brand used for its developer-focused AI coding assistant, Microsoft creates a unified identity across its consumer and enterprise AI tools.
But the shift also indicates Bing Chat did not achieve its goals, necessitating a rebrand to the more successful Copilot moniker. Nonetheless, unifying under one brand should reduce confusion from Microsoft’s array of overlapping AI products.
Commercial Data Privacy Protections Added
Along with the renaming, Copilot in Bing will gain new data privacy protections for commercial users starting December 1st.
Enterprise users who sign in with a work Microsoft Entra ID will receive “commercial data protection” ensuring their data is not saved, used to train models, or accessed by Microsoft when using the AI chatbot.
This reassures corporate customers their sensitive information remains protected while still allowing Bing Chatbot access. However, it could limit the chatbot’s capabilities for these commercial users if unable to leverage their data.
Available Across Microsoft Platforms and Plans
The rebranded Copilot will be available beyond Bing across Microsoft’s ecosystem including Windows, Office 365, and Teams. It is included in several subscription plans like Microsoft 365 and Business Premium.
For now, Copilot access remains limited as Microsoft continues scaling up responsibly. But its availability points to AI assistants like ChatGPT becoming a core part of Microsoft’s future software experience.
ChatGPT Competition Remains Fierce
Microsoft’s integration of Copilot across its platform shows its commitment to AI’s role in its product strategy. However, competition in the space continues intensifying.
Google just unveiled its Bard AI chatbot to rival ChatGPT, while Salesforce aims to acquire Anthropic, the startup behind thoughtful AI Claude. Meanwhile, OpenAI continues rapidly innovating.
Amidst this fierce competition, Microsoft likely felt renewing branding around Copilot carried more weight than the ineffective Bing Chat name to market its AI chatbot capabilities. But significant innovation is still required to match pace with rivals.
The Potential and the Risks of Mainstream AI Microsoft’s rebranded Copilot in Bing represents the vanguard of AI chatbots crossing over into the mainstream. This could revolutionize search, customer service, and productivity if done responsibly.
However, risks around bias, misinformation, and job disruption remain front of mind. Microsoft will aim to showcase Copilot’s capabilities while addressing these concerns. Navigating this balance could define whether AI chatbots become true digital assistants rather than disruptive or dangerous forces.
Overall, Copilot’s expansion across Microsoft products signals AI’s pivotal role in its future. But the technology remains very much in its infancy, requiring iterative development before reaching its full potential.