Microsoft Ignite is the company’s annual conference for developers and IT professionals where we get to hear about the changes in Windows, Microsoft 365, and Azure that will impact businesses. Microsoft Ignite 2023 will include a big focus on AI, with Microsoft recently launching its Microsoft 365 Copilot and its continued push to infuse all of its products with AI features.
The Verge will be covering all the news out of Microsoft Ignite. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will kick off the main keynote at 12PM ET / 9AM PT on November 15th. It’s being livestreamed on Microsoft’s site and will be followed by sessions and deep dives into the main announcements from the show.
- Anyone remember Windows XP 64-Bit Edition for 64-Bit Extended Systems?
Microsoft’s Jared Spataro has been joking about the company’s terrible history of marketing names for products at Ignite today. “Simplicity and naming, well, they haven’t always been our strong suit,” admitted Spataro, while discussing the Bing Chat rebranding to Microsoft Copilot. “Anyone else remember Windows XP 64-Bit Edition for 64-Bit Extended Systems? Just rolls off the tongue,” he joked. Anyone else remember the 2007 Microsoft Office System?
- Generative AI is coming to VR headsets.
Microsoft Teams is about to go 3D thanks to a new VR meetings experience in January 2024. While that’s a new way to chat with coworkers, Microsoft is already teasing how its generative AI Copilot system will be able to handle requests for creating meeting spaces and objects in VR. We’re not sure when this will arrive, but generative AI in VR is certainly on the way.
- Nvidia says generative AI will be bigger than the internet.
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang has just taken the stage at Microsoft’s Ignite event to talk about how the company is partnering with Microsoft on a variety of AI projects. “Generative AI is the single most significant platform transition in computing history,” says Huang. “In the last 40 years, nothing has been this big. It’s bigger than PC, it’s bigger than mobile, and it’s gonna be bigger than the internet, by far.” Nvidia made $6 billion in pure profit earlier this year thanks to the AI boom.
- Microsoft loves OpenAI and open source.
“As OpenAI innovates we will deliver all of that innovation as part of Azure OpenAI,” says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. The latest GPT-4 Turbo model, with lower pricing and extended prompt length, is coming to Azure OpenAI this week in preview. Microsoft is also offering Meta’s Llama 2 model as a service, alongside Mistral and Jais.
- Microsoft’s new CPU is ‘the fastest of any cloud provider.’
Microsoft announced a new Arm-based CPU today, the Azure Cobalt 100. It’s designed for cloud workloads and Microsoft already said it was 40 percent faster than the commercial Arm-based servers it uses today. Now, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says it’s “the fastest of any cloud provider.” The slide behind Nadella narrowed that claim to Arm-based server CPUs. We look forward to the benchmarks in 2024.
- Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reflects on a year of ChatGPT.
Nadella is taking the stage at Microsoft Ignite today, where he’s reflecting on the state of AI just as Microsoft launches new AI chips, rebrands Bing Chat to Microsoft Copilot, and lets anyone create AI copilots. “We’re entering this exciting new phase of AI, where we’re not just talking about it as technology that’s new and interesting, but we’re getting into the details of producing, making, deployment, and safety,” says Nadella. “We’re at a tipping point. This is clearly the age of Copilots.”
- Microsoft Ignite 2023 kicks off in 30 minutes.
Microsoft’s annual IT pro and developers conference, Ignite, is kicking off with a keynote from CEO Satya Nadella at 12PM ET / 9AM PT. You can watch the show live over at Microsoft’s Ignite website. The biggest announcements from the show include new Microsoft built CPUs and AI chips, a Bing Chat rebranding to Microsoft Copilot, and a new Microsoft Copilot Studio that lets anyone build custom AI copilots. You can find all of the Microsoft Ignite 2023 news right here.
Microsoft is combining its Sentinel security analytics and Microsoft Defender XDR platforms into an “industry first” unified security operations platform — with the company’s Security Copilot chatbot stationed centrally for IT and security personnel to administer everything easily. During the company’s enterprise-focused Ignite conference today, Microsoft is announcing expanded conversational AI abilities to better centrally manage its security platforms.Read Article >
Microsoft originally announced Security Copilot in March, demonstrating how its generative AI system can summarize all the alerts and data points that typically inundate security professionals. At the time, it had not been made available beyond “a few customers” to test. Microsoft shared some of the chatbot’s abilities, like asking it to summarize all incidents in the enterprise, explain how particular vulnerabilities work, feed it a file to check if it’s secure, and use it to collaborate with colleagues and even generate automations.
Microsoft is officially launching its Notion-like productivity and collaboration app called Loop.Read Article >
Loop lets you use flexible, collaborative workspaces and pages to make it easier to cooperate on work. If you’re familiar with Notion’s interface at all, Loop looks and feels remarkably similar — right down to the ability to easily access a bunch of tools and formatting options by typing the forward slash key (which pulls up what Microsoft calls the “insert menu”).
Microsoft is adding two new AI-powered features to Teams soon that will improve your voice and webcam. A new “decorate your background” feature is coming to Microsoft Teams Premium in early 2024 and uses generative AI effects to clean up and replace clutter in the background when on a video call.Read Article >
While Microsoft Teams has long offered a variety of virtual backgrounds, this decoration feature will work in a real-world room, much like the augmented reality filters you find on Snapchat. It can even add plants, lights, and seasonal objects to the background behind you. We’ll have to see how this functions in reality, but if it works as well as the GIF below, then it could be a good option to hide your messy background and avoid the fake-looking virtual ones.
Microsoft and Nvidia want to help developers run and configure AI models on their Windows PCs. During the Microsoft Ignite event on Wednesday, Microsoft announced Windows AI Studio: a new hub where developers can access AI models and tweak them to suit their needs.Read Article >
Windows AI Studio allows developers to access development tools and models from the existing Azure AI Studio and other services like Hugging Face. It also offers an end-to-end “guided workspace setup” with model configuration UI and walkthroughs to fine-tune various small language models (SLMs), such as Microsoft’s Phi, Meta’s Llama 2, and Mistral.
Microsoft is overhauling its project management services to help small teams and businesses better keep track of work. During the company’s Ignite event on Wednesday, Microsoft announced that some of its existing task management and planning tools — Microsoft To Do, Microsoft Planner, and Microsoft Project for the web — will be combined into a single, unified experience next year under the name Microsoft Planner.Read Article >
The new Microsoft Planner experience will first be available within the Planner app in Microsoft Teams in spring 2024, with a web experience to follow later that year. The existing Tasks by Planner and To Do apps in Microsoft Teams are being renamed to just “Planner.” Microsoft Project for the web is also expected to be renamed Planner in the “coming months,” though Microsoft says existing users will be able to access the same features following the update.
When I first used Microsoft Mesh, the company’s mixed reality platform, I said it felt “like the virtual future of Microsoft Teams meetings.” Now, nearly three years later, Microsoft is making immersive 3D Teams meetings a reality. In January, Microsoft Mesh is being integrated into Teams to allow co-workers to meet together in a virtual space — no VR headset required.Read Article >
It’s a big shift in Microsoft’s original vision for Mesh — an entire platform built on top of Azure that Microsoft hoped developers would tap into — but then a lot has changed with Microsoft’s VR / AR ambitions over the past few years. Microsoft’s HoloLens boss, Alex Kipman, left the company last year following misconduct allegations. Six months later, Microsoft shut down AltspaceVR, the social VR platform it acquired in 2017, amid layoffs affecting its mixed reality division.
Microsoft announced a plethora of changes for its Microsoft Copilot AI during Microsoft Ignite today that make the chatbot more interactive and participatory, particularly in Teams meetings. The updates expand Copilot’s role as an enterprise helper in Office apps like Teams, PowerPoint, and Outlook.Read Article >
Microsoft has added some flexibility to the chatbot’s output, so users can tweak it with instructions to make its formatting and tone more to their personal liking. Word and PowerPoint will get the new personalization features to start, but the company says other Microsoft 365 apps will gain support in time.
Last week OpenAI announced its new GPT platform to let anyone create their own version of ChatGPT, and now Microsoft is following with Copilot Studio: a new no-code solution that lets businesses create a custom copilot or integrate a custom ChatGPT AI chatbot.Read Article >
Microsoft Copilot Studio is designed primarily to extend Microsoft 365 Copilot, the paid service that Microsoft launched earlier this month. Businesses can now customize the Copilot in Microsoft 365 to include datasets, automation flows, and even custom copilots that aren’t part of the Microsoft Graph that powers Microsoft 365 Copilot.
The rumors are true: Microsoft has built its own custom AI chip that can be used to train large language models and potentially avoid a costly reliance on Nvidia. Microsoft has also built its own Arm-based CPU for cloud workloads. Both custom silicon chips are designed to power its Azure data centers and ready the company and its enterprise customers for a future full of AI.Read Article >
Microsoft’s Azure Maia AI chip and Arm-powered Azure Cobalt CPU are arriving in 2024, on the back of a surge in demand this year for Nvidia’s H100 GPUs that are widely used to train and operate generative image tools and large language models. There’s such high demand for these GPUs that some have even fetched more than $40,000 on eBay.
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.Read Article >
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.