Microsoft made a significant announcement earlier this year when it launched a major AI initiative as part of its Bing search engine. One of the key parts of this initiative was the integration of a ChatGPT-like interface directly into its search results. However, less than a year after this debut, the company has decided to rebrand the Bing Chat interface and move it under the name Microsoft Copilot.
Copilot, the new name for the chat interface, will replace the previous Bing Chat branding in various Microsoft products including Bing, Microsoft Edge, and Windows 11. Microsoft initially positioned its AI ambitions as a move to compete with Google Search, but it has now shifted its focus to compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT instead. This rebranding comes just days after OpenAI revealed that 100 million people are using ChatGPT on a weekly basis.
As part of this rebranding, Microsoft is pitching Copilot as the free version of its AI chatbot, with Copilot for Microsoft 365 as the paid option. The free version of Copilot will still be accessible in Bing and Windows, but it will also have its own dedicated domain over at copilot.microsoft.com.
Business users will sign into Microsoft Copilot with an Entra ID, while consumers will need a Microsoft Account to access the free Copilot service. Currently, Microsoft Copilot is officially supported only in Microsoft Edge or Chrome, and on Windows or macOS.
According to Colette Stallbaumer, general manager of Microsoft 365, the Bing Chat and Bing Chat Enterprise will now simply be rebranded as Microsoft Copilot. This change comes after Microsoft had earlier chosen Copilot as the branding for its Windows 11 chatbot. While initially, it wasn’t clear if the Bing Chat branding would be fully phased out, it is now evident that it will be.
This rebranding reflects Microsoft’s commitment to positioning Copilot as the premier AI chatbot for consumers and businesses, moving away from the Bing branding. However, Microsoft maintains that Bing still plays a significant role in powering many Copilot experiences and continues to be a leader in the search industry.
In the midst of launching its AI search push with Bing, Microsoft held an internal Q&A session for employees earlier this year. During this session, Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s consumer chief marketing officer, explained why the company decided to stick with the Bing brand initially, citing its neutrality, recognition, and positive associations. However, Microsoft has chosen to rebrand the initiative as Microsoft Copilot, emphasizing a more stand-alone experience that doesn’t rely solely on the Bing platform.
The move away from Bing as the main entry point for Microsoft’s AI ambitions with Copilot suggests a shift in strategy, as it’s not entirely clear if the push for AI search achieved the desired success for the company. Despite Microsoft’s initial vision to compete with Google Search, the latest statistics show that Google still maintains over 91 percent market share, while the effectiveness of Microsoft’s AI integration into its search engine is yet to be determined.
Ultimately, Microsoft’s rebranding of Bing Chat to Microsoft Copilot suggests a strategic shift in its AI initiatives, aiming to establish itself as a major player in the AI assistant market. As the competition between Microsoft and OpenAI continues to intensify, it will be interesting to see how Copilot will evolve to differentiate itself and compete with other established AI chatbot platforms.