On the show this week, we’re joined by a special guest from Microsoft, and we’re analyzing recent news around OpenAI and Microsoft that sheds light on the background to why Microsoft has been able to launch Copilot so rapidly, and whether various developments around the world might affect how you implement AI tools in Microsoft 365, including how government interventions might impact Microsoft themselves.
Why Microsoft is Focused on Copilots
First up on the show we discuss and give our thoughts on a recent detailed and well-researched article from the New York Times, which provides an inside look at how large tech companies reacted to ChatGPT being launched.
Tech companies, including Microsoft, appeared to believe that generative AI was inaccurate and OpenAI didn’t expect large-scale uptake – the web app was originally created to demonstrate the technology to Bill Gates some months prior.
In the aftermath of ChatGPT’s initial popularity, Copilot for Microsoft 365 appears to have been high on Microsoft’s list of things to do. So we ponder – was competition essential in tipping Microsoft’s hand in the direction of Copilots?
EU Drafts New AI Rules & UK Competition & Markets Authorities Examine the Partnership Between OpenAI & Microsoft
The EU introduces the AI act, which will take effect from 2025. These are rules that govern AI models with the highest impact on people, like GPT-4 which underpins Microsoft’s Copilots. The new legislation prohibits AI practices including scraping of faces from social media and CCTV, emotional recognition in the workplace, social scoring, biometric categorization, and predictive policing, with exceptions for government & law enforcement. It’s highly likely that because of Microsoft’s ethical stance towards AI, both for Copilots, in Azure services and Power Platform apps like AI builder, these rules won’t have any effect on how you use services; and from what we can tell, Microsoft has been enforcing stricter rules on the use of AI already.
In other news, the recent drama at OpenAI that almost resulted in sacked-and-rehired Sam Altman joining Microsoft (with potentially over 700 OpenAI employees) and then Microsoft gaining a board seat, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is opening an investigation to determine if it is a de-facto merger.
Microsoft may not have been helped in this matter by comments from Satya Nadella like “There is no OpenAI without, sort of, Microsoft leaning in, in a deeper way, to partner with this company on their mission”; however considering the New York Times’ investigation showed Microsoft was just as surprised about ChatGPT’s launch as their competitors, it seems unlikely that this will end negatively for Microsoft.
Of Note in the Microsoft 365 Roadmap
We discuss Copilot Roadmap Updates including news that Copilot is coming to classic Outlook; which is good news for many organizations who rely upon Outlook add-ins today.
And confusing name changes continue. It’s official: Bing Chat Enterprise is “Microsoft 365: Copilot”; and just in case you missed it, Microsoft 365 Copilot, i.e. the $30 per user uplift for Microsoft 365 was renamed “Copilot for Microsoft 365”.
Microsoft’s Luberth Morera Joins us to Discuss the Retirement of Exchange Web Services (EWS) and What it Means for You
Many folks may be concerned about Microsoft’s plans to block all requests from non-Microsoft apps to Exchange Web Services in Exchange Online in just under three years time, on October 1st, 2026.
We’re joined on the show by Luberth Morena, who is leading efforts to retire EWS in a similar controlled way to the removal of Legacy Auth. We discuss:
- Microsoft’s Overall EWS deprecation plan & strategy
- We take a deeper dive into the main reasons (business scenarios) why people still use EWS.
- Luberth provides a high-level view of traffic distribution per business scenarios (not naming names of course)
- And we chat about what Microsoft is doing to help customers via feedback channels, and we discuss the bigger gaps Microsoft is working to close.
I’ll be back in two weeks’ time for the final show of 2023 where we’ll discuss the best moments on Practical 365 this year, changes to Microsoft 365 that have had the biggest impact, and look ahead at what to expect in 2024. In the meantime, have a great holiday season.