After numerous attempts to promote Bing Chat, Microsoft has finally decided to adopt Copilot as its primary brand for its AI chatbot.
Earlier this year, Microsoft initiated a major AI initiative by incorporating a ChatGPT-like interface into its Bing search engine. However, less than a year later, the company has decided to rebrand the Bing Chat interface as Copilot, which is now the new name for the chat interface that was previously available in Bing, Microsoft Edge, and Windows 11.
Although Microsoft had previously aimed to take on Google Search with its AI plans, the company now seems to be targeting ChatGPT. Following OpenAI’s announcement that 100 million users are utilizing ChatGPT every week, Microsoft relabeled bing to Bing Chat. Although Microsoft and OpenAI maintain a multi-billion dollar partnership, they are also competing for the same AI assistant consumers and businesses. Microsoft is positioning Copilot as the go-to option in this competitive market.
Colette Stallbaumer, the general manager of Microsoft 365, has announced that Bing Chat and Bing Chat Enterprise will now be known as Copilot. This official name change follows Microsoft’s decision to brand its chatbot inside Windows 11 as Copilot a few months ago. While it was uncertain before, the Bing Chat branding will now completely disappear.
Microsoft is currently positioning Copilot as their complimentary AI chatbot, while offering Copilot for Microsoft 365 (previously known as Microsoft 365 Copilot) as the premium alternative. The free edition of Copilot will remain accessible through Bing and Windows, but it will also have its exclusive domain at copilot.microsoft.com, similar to ChatGPT.
To access the free Copilot service, business users will be required to sign in with an Entra ID, whereas consumers will need a Microsoft Account. It is important to note that Microsoft Copilot is officially supported exclusively on Microsoft Edge or Chrome, and can be accessed on both Windows and macOS platforms.
Microsoft introduced Bing Chat earlier this year, referring to it as an “AI-powered web copilot.” Since then, the company has adopted the Copilot branding for various AI initiatives, following GitHub’s initial use of the Copilot name last year.
The recent rebranding signifies that Copilot is evolving into a separate experience, eliminating the need to visit Bing for access. Bing now plays a supporting role in empowering Copilot. However, the decision to distance itself from Bing is intriguing, considering Microsoft’s significant investment in integrating AI capabilities into its search engine and positioning it as a competitor to Google.
Microsoft claims Bing is still a big part of Copilot, though. “Bing remains a prominent brand and technology powering many Copilot experiences while continuing to be a leader in the search industry,” says Caitlin Roulston, director of communications at Microsoft, in a statement to The Verge.
During the initial release of Bing Chat earlier this year, Microsoft organized an internal Q&A session for its employees to address any inquiries regarding its AI search initiative. According to sources familiar with the meeting, Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s consumer chief marketing officer, provided insights into the company’s decision to continue with Bing instead of adopting a new brand such as Microsoft Copilot.
During an internal meeting with Microsoft employees in February, Mehdi stated that research from the branding team indicated that people generally have a neutral opinion of Bing, which is actually a positive thing since it means there are no negative associations. He also mentioned that the Bing brand has an estimated worth of $200 million dollars in terms of awareness. Mehdi and his team considered starting from scratch with a new brand, but ultimately decided to stick with Bing due to its positive attributes such as being a four-letter, one-syllable, globally recognized brand with equity.
Microsoft’s AI ambitions with Copilot have shifted away from Bing as the main entry point. The success of Microsoft’s push for AI search remains uncertain. Earlier this year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella expressed his desire to make Google, which he referred to as an 800-pound gorilla, dance. However, Google has not been as quick to integrate AI into its search results as Microsoft. Despite the launch of Bing Chat almost 10 months ago, Google still maintains over 91 percent market share, according to StatCounter.