Anticipated Backlash over Microsoft's Copilot and Google's Duet: The High Cost of AI Innovation

NNicholas October 17, 2023 4:47 PM

Microsoft and Google are set to release their respective AI applications, Copilot and Duet, for businesses. However, the hefty price tag, coupled with the nascent nature of such AI tools, might lead to a significant backlash from businesses.

AI applications on the rise

Microsoft and Google are striding towards the future with their latest AI applications aimed at the business sphere. Microsoft, leveraging OpenAI's technology including ChatGPT and Dall-E, is developing Copilot, an AI assistant designed to enhance Office 365 users' efficiency. It promises improved email writing, PowerPoint creation, spreadsheet analysis, and even simultaneous meeting attendance. On the other hand, Google is on the verge of introducing Duet, which will offer similar AI functionalities for the Workspace platform.

While these AI applications promise a host of benefits, they come with a considerable price tag. Both Microsoft and Google have set a pricing model of $30 per user per month for any organization desiring to use Copilot or Duet. This could mean a sizeable expense for companies - a firm with just ten users could be shelling out $3,600 a year for these AI tools. The price is steep, particularly for nascent technologies that might create more issues than they resolve.

Businesses' reluctance towards AI adoption

Businesses are not jumping on the AI bandwagon just yet. Many companies are still figuring out how AI can benefit them, and the need for comprehensive training and education to understand these new tools will undoubtedly cause some frustration. Plus, the significant cost, which was touted as a tool to increase productivity and reduce overhead, might seem more like an additional burden. Then there's the lingering concern about security, privacy, accuracy and bias related to these AI tools. Many businesses might opt to hold the purse strings until they are absolutely confident about the reliability and effectiveness of these tools.

Earning businesses' trust will be a substantial hurdle for Microsoft and Google. Past experiences with Microsoft products, which took several iterations to become ready for prime time, have made users cautious. There's a reason why Microsoft software doesn't power airplanes or run self-driving cars, after all. With AI tools that are bound to have bugs and require ongoing training for improvement, businesses may be reluctant to pay for this work-in-progress. Both tech giants will need to prove these tools are worth the investment before businesses willingly part with their money.

Predicted backlash for AI adoption

Despite the promise and hype around AI, many businesses aren't ready to pay for these unproven tools. The author predicts a backlash from organizations holding the same sentiment. Expectations were that software makers would offer improved, reliable, and more useful software for the same price, not additional features with hefty price tags. Until the real value of tools like Copilot and Duet are demonstrated, many businesses, including the author's, aren't buying in.

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