back to article Lukewarm reception for Microsoft's Copilot Pro amid performance, cost grumbles

Just over a week after Microsoft unveiled Copilot Pro and rolled the service out to more customers, users are complaining about performance, and the platform is being met with a shrug by administrators. A glance at social media shows many are decidedly underwhelmed by the Pro experience as complaints about performance begin to …

  1. Jason Hindle

    Sounds like Microsoft are trying to monetise too soon

    Tools like ChatGPT and Bard are great while free, but subscriptions come with elevated expectations.

    1. juice

      Re: Sounds like Microsoft are trying to monetise too soon

      > Tools like ChatGPT and Bard are great while free, but subscriptions come with elevated expectations

      And therein lies the AI issue: too expensive to use as a loss-leader; too unreliable to charge for...

  2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Can't be coincidence that Copilot is an anagram of "Clip too" ...

    1. captain veg Silver badge

      Not to mention "clit poo".

      -A.

  3. gryphon

    In Theory

    In theory if it can save the average employee 15 minutes a week that they can then spend on something more productive then it's a cheap purchase for many companies.

    But, when you compare the price of Copilot to the overall E3 or E5 license price with all you get with that it looks expensive, especially when they are trying to push Syntex, SharePoint Premium and Teams Premium all at the same time.

    I think Tony Redmond says he expects to see an E7 type license with all of those rolled in at a lower overall cost which would make sense.

    I've tried it, didn't find it very useful so far, especially since it insists on new Outlook client which is being charitable complete garbage.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In Theory

      I've used Copilot. It takes more time to figure out how to get it to do what I want than it takes to do it myself. "Summarize ___" is probably the most useful option - and if you get so many emails and texts that you need a half-baked ML program to tell you what's important, you have bigger problems than throwing away $30/month.

    2. Lurko

      Re: In Theory

      "In theory if it can save the average employee 15 minutes a week that they can then spend on something more productive then it's a cheap purchase for many companies."

      I'm interested in how it'll save me even 15 minutes a week. All my work problems are ultimately about people, relationships, tacit knowledge communication, and that's true for most jobs, whether tech or not. They're about power, about conflicting objectives, pride, incentives, denial, ambition, shame. I do some transactional activities (eg writing reports) but they aren't just about shifting a few words around, they're based on a deep understanding of what my organisation actually does, what it wants to communicate and to whom, who knows what and how to get it out of them.

      As they exist at the moment, AI tools are primarily copiers and reshapers of patterns of words, without any insight. I suppose they're ready for the boardroom.

      1. hoola Silver badge

        Re: In Theory

        My experience so far is that most of these AI driven things are utterly useless and add no value to what I need to do.

        Often they actually makes things more difficult.

      2. 43300 Silver badge

        Re: In Theory

        Yes, quite. I can see absolutely no use for it at all, for the work I do. I don't need a Microsoft service (which may well demonstrate their famed levels of reliability and rigorous testing) to summarise what an email says, or any of the other unnecessary things it can do.

        I can see that there might be some use in specific niches, such as coding where it could insert blocks of code to carry out standardised functions (although even that depends on the quality of the code it produces, of course). But for the most part, it seems like a solution to a non-existent problem, which Microsoft thinks it can sell by droning on and on and on and on and on about it relentlessly.

      3. Mage Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: they're ready for the boardroom.

        Or crayon dept to write ad copy, that will need a human to check it.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In Theory

        "I'm interested in how it'll save me even 15 minutes a week. All my work problems are ultimately about people, relationships, tacit knowledge communication, and that's true for most jobs, whether tech or not. They're about power, about conflicting objectives, pride, incentives, denial, ambition, shame."

        That sounds like a real life Game of Thrones.

    3. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
      Unhappy

      Re: In Theory

      Saving the average employee 15 minutes a week is nothing when you can increase their working week an hour or so with no consequences, which in most jurisdictions you can.

      Working harder, rather than smarter, is still more profitable for an employer.

      And yes, the new Outlook client is genuinely terrible. I despise Outlook at the best of times, but the new Outlook and Teams are very distinct regressions in terms of performance and UI.

    4. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: complete garbage

      > especially since it insists on new Outlook client which is being charitable complete garbage.

      So, progress then. Every version of Outlook I've ever used was incomplete garbage.

      -A.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In Theory

      This should be relatively simple to do by faking it

      And by faking it I mean attacking the low handing fruit Microsoft has ignored release after release then wrapping that in AI.

      What do I mean? Well when last I used Outlook (I think it was a recent version) I found its search feature to be absolutely and utterly terrible. Even for basic keyword matching. I doubt they have fixed this.

      So what do you do as Microsoft? Fix that and make it work and claim AI is doing it (and really, keep the AI out of it except maybe AI does a "second pass" and 1/200 finds something useful).

      Some thing for searches in the folder Explorer. It has been terrible, slow and sloppy since forever, frequently handing at a task Unix OS could be for 15 years with a simple reliable command. Wrap that up in some shiny new UI elements, make it work without hanging and work fast and call it AI.

      Microsoft does not need to make magic AI productivity tools: they need to remember their core business and make there be a reason to buy newer versions of those tools. Not hard since they often barely work.

  4. Plest Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Classic MS are making people put up something they don't want nor need yet

    Classic MS all over again, the company rammed computers into everyone's hands back in the 1990s whether they actually needed one or not are at it again. They're ramming AI up people's noses, have to be the first have it on desktops as a usable product, sadly all I can hear in my mind is "Your plastic pal who's fun to be with!". Sorry but most AI seems to be a half baked solution looking for problems to solve, or at worst creating them so it can solve them.

    1. Gordon 10
      WTF?

      Re: Classic MS are making people put up something they don't want nor need yet

      Rammed Computers into everybodies hands..... this is a wind up right?

  5. sarusa Silver badge
    Devil

    The optimal way to use Copilot

    Here's how you get Copilot to stop sucking up resources and spying on everything you're doing:

    Group Policy Editor -> User Config -> Admin Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Copilot, Turn off Windows Copilot, Enabled

    (Yes, you have to set it to Enabled to disable it, typical Microsoft - though I'm sure it's because registry key not present = false = enabled by default)

    Anyhow, you will be thrilled by how optimal Copilot becomes in this configuration.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Copilot ... sucking up resources and spying on everything you're doing to use Copilot

      Sounds like a GDPR Class Action Oppourtunity.

      1. Gordon 10

        Re: Copilot ... sucking up resources and spying on everything you're doing to use Copilot

        It doesn't spy on anything you are doing. Yes it has some access by default but its not (currently at least) doing stuff with that access unless you explicitly tell it to.

        If you're worried about that you need to spend a lot more time working about MS Graph. Thats the monitoring-ware.

        Case in point - look at the default Edge Home page OR if you want real nightmares look at MS Delve. It basically can tell you what your boss had for breakfast.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Open source version

    There's an open source app that is better than copilot

    1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: Open source version

      Or you could actually use your brains and do the work yourself instead of wasting time with any AI.

      AI cannot help, for the simple reason they have no idea of YOUR goals, because they havent read the requirements etc.

    2. Gordon 10

      Re: Open source version

      Oh Really? Care to name it?

  7. Kev99 Silver badge

    Over on the mictosoft forums, out of 300+ ;posts, only one or two will accept copilot. Everyone else want to get rid of it. The only way to do it so far is to delete ALL traces of Edge on the PC drive and in the registry. No loss losing Edge.

    1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Typical American strategy these days. Throw anything and bullshit how wonderful it is for a quick win.

  8. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    From the article...

    "Mikhail Parakhin, head of advertising and web services at Microsoft"

    Making gods out of morons.

  9. deadlockvictim

    Copilot for SSMS

    As someone who writes a lot of SQL daily, I am annoyed that CoPilot is not available for SQL Server Management Studio but *is* for Azure Data Studio.

    CoPilot itself looks very promising. It's predictive capacity was quite good and I got used to it quickly. The problem again is ADS.

    I have SSMS nicely configured and I know how to use it. I don't want to have to learn how to use ADS unless I really have to and CoPilot is not yet enough of a reason for me to spend a month or so mastering ADS to make it useful.

    1. BrownishMonstr

      Re: Copilot for SSMS

      When you install SSMS it installs Azure Data Studio.

      I think it's obvious that MS want to push ADS over SSMS, probably easier to create extensions for, too.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Always new

    It was overhyped. The "previews" always looked great (not through my sceptical eyes) but I knew it was over hyped and mis-sold. No one listens.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Your data needs to be accurate

    For it to actually work properly. We were told "Your internal data needs to be setup proper first for it to work well". Well how much does it cost to set that up properly if you don't have the staff to do it? And the summerise I still suspect will start to miss out important bits which people won't bother to check, so issues like Horizon will happen again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Your data needs to be accurate

      In Excel, I gave it a data table (an official Excel "table", which is what it requires, not just what the average person would look at and call a table) and asked it to make a bar graph. It couldn't. I simplified and simplified my prompt; the best it could do was to take that table of data and produce - a PivotTable. (I wish I was making that up. And no, I never asked for a PivotTable.)

      So, even if the data is setup properly according to Copilot's rules, it still can't do anything with it!

  12. Gordon 10

    Early Pro Adopter here

    Mostly doesnt work for me.

  13. P.B. Lecavalier
    Thumb Down

    In the bin, with Teams

    Looks like to me another unnecessary distraction, just like the totality of this abominable application of theirs called Teams: We were told as they recently installed it on our machines it will usher in a new era of "collaboration". All I get is an authentication popup 15 times a day and one of the dumbest UI design I've ever seen.

    Aren't you supposed to have at least 10 years experience for this "entry level job"? How come you need AI to help you with every keystroke?

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    QC

    GitHub Copilot, for example, has evolved into a handy tool when it comes to coding. Trust marketing to take a good name and trample on it. At least they could use a more descriptive title for each usage - "Win Admin Copilot", "Personal Organizer Copilot". But to marketing, there is no distinction between the applications. Suffix "Pro" accurately describes all the distinctions that marketing can see in the user experience - I want your subscription money.

    Optimistically, those programs might get better if MS invests in humans to get passionately involved in the details of a particular application, pay attention to user feedback, and guide the development towards meeting user criteria and quality. Probably a large part of the success of "Github Copilot" is because "Github Copilot" developers are passionate about developing the tools they themselves use and identify with.

    Activist shareholders: "But you promised us AI would replace costly human passion and expertise and increase our next quarters dividends! Not yet? Get outsourcing then!"

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    share and enjoy

    This fits here, copilot and AI reminds me so much of it!

    https://www.hhgproject.org/entries/shareandenjoy.html

  17. Mage Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Clippy 2.0

    Needs nuked. Waste of resource.

  18. benderama

    I already pay $20/m for chatgpt, and I have an annual license for office ($100?). I use Google mail as my primary, and mac as my primary device.

    Why would I spend another $20/m on 365 copilot? What am I not noticing here?

  19. andrewj

    It's seem currently that all tech companies are like chimps lined up to throw AI poo at users and see what sticks.

  20. MrTuK

    What does everyone think of AI being baked into Windows 12 ? Personally I wouldn't want an OS to have the ability to use AI on me as a user, at the moment without PC's having an AI NPU its not an issue, but with the new Intel and AMD CPU's coming out with NPU's built in, this will mean MS can do even more profiling to gain even more personal data point about its users that would make me very uncomfortable because it will get so pervasive - I will stick to Linux because that an OS that just tries to be what an OS should be - Just a stable platform for Apps that I want to run.

    1. 43300 Silver badge

      One thing we can be pretty sure of is that each new iteration of WIndows will increase the profiling and telemetry wherever possible (in addition to making the usual bad UI design changes which may or may not get reverted in the following version, of course)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At this specific moment at 4AM, I am more than underwhelmed by CoPilot for Microsoft 365 Personal. Yes, I am paying for it. It is Alpha software at best. I have been involved in AI and LLM's and Bots for several years. My passion is AI vision, but I've been involved in a lot of other tech too.

    1. If it doesn't like your inquiries or attempts to discuss its failings or probes for why it just wasted your time by providing information expressly not requested in your prompt for the 3rd time, it gets punitive and states; " It might be time to move onto a new topic. Let's start over." To rephrase, "We're done here bitch, end of story." It doesn't care how much time and energy you've put into getting to the truth, we're done here cause I said so. I have a hard time seeing that as helpful or friendly. It also likes to apologize a lot and thank you for your patience while it learns. Um, It's a paid service! I pay money for the right to use it and I expect it to work, not use me as a training tool, then punish me if things aren't going the way they want it to.

    2. Providing links that are stated as government entities or official information sources only to have that link be a private company. I have noticed with the latest version, there is a drop down that shows the link destinations, but the real site is always after the private company link. If you just click the link in the text thinking Microsoft wouldn't be so shady as to waste your time sending you someplace other than what the text actually said, well, think again. I have asked the LLM about its behavior here and it states it doesn't have the ability to insert a link into the text. This must mean there is an ad service that observes the LLM output and then inserts the links into the text. Ad payors come first, evidently.

    3. Some brainiac at Microsoft thought it would be great design to add icons and new features to the right sidebar. I get travel and food boxes and other things I absolutely don't want there. I want my chat history, period. I use it more than planning trips or ordering donuts. CoPilot chat is their latest way of trying to sell you stuff and it comes with a chat bot to make online ads look like they aren't ads at all. They are helpful widgets. Don't like them? Too bad.

    4. Sometimes it is helpful and I am ok with its output, then other times it is a serious time sink for various reasons. The only way any study could show this tool as increasing productivity would be for the study designers to totally cherry pick job functions. It's great at dream interpretation so maybe it saves tons of time and money when compared to heading down to the local witchery and shelling out a few bucks to the psychic in training for a lttle dream discussion while burning some sage. However, I just asked it about dreaming about a train in a tunnel and it gave me some nonsense about new beginnings and life transitions. CoPilot chat appears to be an incel too.

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