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Business News/ Companies / News/  Microsoft unveils AI-enhanced ‘Copilot+’ PCs to compete with Alphabet, Apple; launch set for June 18
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Microsoft unveils AI-enhanced ‘Copilot+’ PCs to compete with Alphabet, Apple; launch set for June 18

CEO Satya Nadella introduced the Copilot+ PCs during an event at its Redmond, Washington campus. These computers, developed in collaboration with manufacturers like Acer and ASUSTek Computer, are designed to perform more artificial intelligence tasks without relying on cloud data centres.

CEO Satya Nadella introduces Microsoft's new AI-enhanced 'Copilot+' PCs at the Redmond, Washington event, aiming to compete with industry giants Alphabet and Apple. (Bloomberg)Premium
CEO Satya Nadella introduces Microsoft's new AI-enhanced 'Copilot+' PCs at the Redmond, Washington event, aiming to compete with industry giants Alphabet and Apple. (Bloomberg)

Microsoft unveiled a new category of personal computers on May 20, featuring advanced AI capabilities, aiming to integrate emerging technology into its products and compete with industry giants Alphabet and Apple, reported Reuters.

During an event at its Redmond, Washington campus, CEO Satya Nadella introduced the ‘Copilot+’ PCs. Developed in collaboration with manufacturers like Acer and ASUSTeK Computer, these computers are designed to perform more artificial intelligence tasks without relying on cloud data centres. The report added that the new devices, starting at $1,000, will be available for purchase on June 18.

Nadella highlighted the innovative ‘Recall’ feature of the Copilot+ PCs. ‘Recall’ keeps track of all activities on the computer, from web browsing to voice chats, storing a searchable history that users can access to retrieve past actions. Microsoft also showcased the Copilot+ voice assistant acting as a real-time virtual coach for users playing the ‘Minecraft’ video game, as quoted by Reuters.

Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's head of consumer marketing, projected that 50 million AI PCs would be sold over the next year. At the press event, Mehdi emphasised that faster AI assistants running directly on a PC would be “the most compelling reason to upgrade your PC in a long time," quoted Reuters.

The launch of these AI-powered PCs comes as Microsoft's shares trade near record highs, driven by Wall Street's optimism that AI will significantly boost profits for Microsoft and its Big Tech rivals. The global PC market, which saw shipments decline by about 15% to 242 million units last year, according to Gartner, suggests that Microsoft anticipates its new Copilot+ PCs will account for approximately one-fifth of all PCs sold, the report added.

"People just need to be convinced that the device experience alone justifies this entirely new category of Copilot machines," said Ben Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies, as per the report.

Microsoft's introduction of the Copilot category recalls the ‘Ultrabook’ campaign of 2011, where Intel promoted thin-form Windows laptops to compete against Apple's MacBook Air. Executives also announced that GPT-4o, the latest technology from OpenAI, will soon be integrated into Copilot+.

Additionally, Microsoft revealed a new generation of its Surface Pro tablet and Surface Laptop, equipped with Qualcomm chips based on Arm Holdings' architecture. A new technology called Prism was also introduced, enabling software designed for Intel and AMD chips to run on Arm-based chips.

In a demonstration, Microsoft showcased its new devices, performing faster than an Apple device when running Adobe's photo editing software. This follows Apple's recent unveiling of an AI-focused chip that is expected to be used in future laptops.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite chips, featuring a neural processing unit to accelerate AI applications like Copilot, are part of Microsoft's strategy to transition the Windows operating system to Arm's chip designs. Qualcomm's exclusivity on Microsoft Windows devices expires this year, opening the market to other chip designers such as Nvidia.

Microsoft's product event precedes its annual developer conference, underscoring its commitment to maintaining a lead in AI tool development. The company's partnership with OpenAI has positioned it ahead of Alphabet in the competitive AI landscape.

Recently, OpenAI and Alphabet's Google showcased competing AI technologies capable of real-time voice interactions, a challenging milestone for AI voice assistants. Google also announced new generative AI features for its search engine.

Windows PC makers face growing competition from Apple, which has gained an edge with custom chips based on Arm designs, offering Mac computers superior battery life and performance. Microsoft enlisted Qualcomm in 2016 to spearhead the shift to Arm's chip designs for Windows, a partnership now poised for broader collaboration with other chip designers.

(With Inputs from Reuters)

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Published: 21 May 2024, 09:52 AM IST
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