Microsoft launched its big AI push earlier this year as part of its Bing search engine, integrating a ChatGPT-like interface directly into its search results. Now less than a year later, it’s dropping the Bing Chat branding and moving to Copilot, the new name for the chat interface you might have used in Bing, Microsoft Edge, and Windows 11.
Microsoft initially talked up the Google search competition for its AI ambitions earlier this year, but it now looks like it has its sights set on ChatGPT instead. The Bing Chat rebranding comes just days after OpenAI revealed 100 million people are using ChatGPT on a weekly basis. Despite a close partnership worth billions, Microsoft and OpenAI continue to compete for the same customers seeking out AI assistants, and Microsoft is clearly trying to position Copilot as the option for consumers and businesses.
“Bing Chat and Bing Chat Enterprise will now simply become Copilot,” explains Colette Stallbaumer, general manager of Microsoft 365. The official name change comes just a couple of months after Microsoft picked Copilot as its branding for its chatbot inside Windows 11. At the time it wasn’t clear that the Bing Chat branding would fully disappear, but it is today.
Microsoft is now pitching Copilot as the free version of its AI chatbot, with Copilot for Microsoft 365 (which used to be Microsoft 365 Copilot) 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 — much like ChatGPT.
Business users will sign into Copilot with an Entra ID, while consumers will need a Microsoft Account to access the free Copilot service. Microsoft Copilot is currently officially supported only in Microsoft Edge or Chrome, and on Windows or macOS.
When Microsoft announced Bing Chat earlier this year, the company described the chatbot as an “AI-powered copilot for the web,” and since then we’ve seen the company use the Copilot branding for a number of AI efforts after GitHub originally used the Copilot name last year.
This new rebranding means Copilot is becoming more of a standalone experience that you don’t have to navigate to Bing to access anymore. Bing is simply part of what powers Copilot now. But the move away from Bing is an interesting one, given Microsoft put a lot of effort into launching its AI efforts inside its search engine and positioned it as a way to steal market share from Google.
Microsoft claims Bing is still a big part of Copilot, though. “Bing remains a prominent brand and technology powering many Copilot experiences while continuing to be a leader in the search industry,” says Caitlin Roulston, director of communications at Microsoft, in a statement to The Verge.
At the time of the Bing Chat launch earlier this year, Microsoft held an internal Q&A for employees to get answers about its AI search push. Sources familiar with the meeting tell The Verge that Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s consumer chief marketing officer, explained why the company was sticking with Bing at the time instead of a new brand like Microsoft Copilot.
“It’s a neutral vessel, so all the research from the branding team shows that people are basically neutral on Bing, which is generally a good thing,” explained Mehdi in an internal meeting with Microsoft employees in February. He also detailed that awareness of the Bing brand was worth around $200 million dollars. “So we said ‘do we want to start from scratch or build on that?’ It has all the positive things, it’s four letters, it has one syllable, it’s global, and it has equity. So we said we’re gonna stick with the Bing brand.”
Bing will no longer be the main entry point for Microsoft’s AI ambitions with Copilot anymore, and it’s not clear if the push for AI search was ever successful for the software maker. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called Google an 800-pound gorilla that he wanted to make dance earlier this year, but Google hasn’t rushed to integrate AI into its search results in quite the same way as Microsoft. And nearly 10 months after the Bing Chat launch, Google is still at over 91 percent market share according to StatCounter.
Update, November 15th 2:45PM ET: Article updated to clarify the rebrand is just to Copilot, although Microsoft routinely refers to Microsoft Copilot as the branding for its collection of AI-powered copilots.