October 30, 2023
Microsoft 365 Copilot available with a minimum of 300 licenses
Microsoft has announced the general availability of Microsoft 365 Copilot to enterprises around the world. However, only companies willing to purchase at least 300 licenses can take advantage of this service. This is much to the disappointment of smaller companies.
Charges on top of Existing Subscriptions
The $30 price per user per month is in addition to the cost of an E3 or E5 subscription. For some customers, this can nearly double the monthly cost per user. Microsoft also demands an annual commitment from customers.
Response of SMEs to Minimum Purchase Rule.
According to analyst firm Directions on Microsoft, a minimum purchase of 300 licenses is required for M365 Copilot, leading to frustration among SMBs.
On Microsoft forums, including the official one, negativity prevails. Users are disappointed that the general availability seems to apply only to large enterprises, when smaller companies could potentially benefit more from Copilot’s ability to automate and simplify tasks.
Criticism of Microsoft’s Strategy for Small Businesses
Microsoft’s policy is being criticized for the Copilot’s limited accessibility to small businesses and nonprofit organizations. The focus on large-scale companies seems at odds with Microsoft’s commitment to making AI accessible to everyone.
Comments from the Community
Many small businesses, nonprofits and partners who sell to SMBs feel left out by Microsoft’s strategy. They wonder why their needs are not being considered, especially since they could also benefit from Copilot’s AI features.
Microsoft’s Response to Criticism
Following the criticism, Microsoft stated that they are also working with small businesses and entrepreneurs as part of an early testing program. This is to gather real-life feedback and tailor the product to their specific needs. Further information on availability to SMEs will be shared in the coming months.
Future perspective of AI in Productivity Tools
Generative AI promises to have a significant impact on productivity suites such as Microsoft 365. However, the high cost and access barriers Microsoft has put in place may alienate many users and even cause them to consider alternatives.
Update: A Microsoft spokesperson issued a statement on Nov. 6 about working with small businesses and adapting the product based on their feedback.
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