Some days ago Microsoft announced Microsoft 365 Copilot, the integration of ChatGPT with Microsoft’s productivity suite. You can watch the presentation below. (The video skips the initial fluff and jumps straight into the 365 Copilot demo, which is impressive.)
As I’ve pointed out before, Large Language Models (LLM) like ChatGTP, in their current incarnations, are more about changing the way we interact with data than about the accuracy of the information they provide. If something stands out from Microsoft’s demo, is that interacting with Microsoft’s ecosystem through natural language is a game changer. Most of the tasks shown in the demo would take significant time to do the traditional way.
The second thing that stands out from Microsoft’s demo is that 365 Copilot uses your data as input to fulfill your requests. That is, your files, chats, emails, calendar… (What Microsoft calls Microsoft Graph.)
While Google has made significant advances in AI—its LaMDA chatbot is probably as good as ChatGPT 3—there is no shipping product.
In 2007, Paul Graham, co-founder of YCombinator wrote an essay titled Microsoft is Dead. In 2007, nobody was afraid of Microsoft. According to Graham, Microsoft was dead probably by 2005, and one of the causes was Google, the most dangerous company at the time. Startups were afraid of Google, not of Microsoft.
High-tech success and transformation are more about culture than technology. Thanks to Satya Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft is back and it’s running circles around Google. Just as Balmer’s Microsoft obsession with Windows made Microsoft unable to seize new opportunities and reconvert itself, Google’s obsession to protect its huge advertising business is hindering the company in its ability to innovate.