Can Microsoft Copilot Replace Popular AI Tools Like ChatGPT, Gamma AI, and Midjourney?

Can Microsoft Copilot win from popular AI tools like ChatGPT, Gamma AI, and Midjourney, and which AI best fits your business?
microsoft-copilot-replace-ai-tools-chatgpt-gamma-midjourney
Daan van Rossum
Daan van Rossum
Founder & CEO, FlexOS
I founded FlexOS because I believe in a happier future of work. I write and host "Future Work," I'm a 2024 LinkedIn Top Voice, and was featured in the NYT, HBR, Economist, CNBC, Insider, and FastCo.
June 6, 2024
5
min read

This week, Klarna grabbed headlines once again by revealing they had automated away half of their marketing team by using AI—a move met with mixed reactions

As AI promises productivity boosts of up to 50%, business leaders are increasingly eager to integrate these tools into their organizations.

And even if they didn’t, AI adoption is soaring, with the Top 100 AI for Work tools generating billions of visits. 

Yet, as knowledge workers embrace AI tools like ChatGPT, Midjourney, and Gamma AI, companies face growing concerns about the "Bring Your Own AI" (BYO-AI) trend. 

Key issues include data security and cost-efficiency, especially if they already invest in Microsoft products. 

Should businesses consolidate under Microsoft's Copilot or continue leveraging a mix of specialized AI tools?

Let’s dive in.

Microsoft Copilot: Pros and Cons

There’s a lot to like about Copilot, Microsoft’s answer to ChatGPT and other specialist tools. 

By accessing your work data and integrating AI into the apps you and your team likely spend 8 hours per day in, Copilot has a lot of advantages:

  • Integration and Accessibility: Microsoft Copilot is deeply embedded in the Microsoft 365 suite, offering seamless access from Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams, although the current capabilities seem hit-and-miss
  • Data: By tapping data from a company’s Microsoft Graph—including emails, calendars, and documents—Copilot enhances productivity by automating repetitive tasks with more knowledge than stand-alone AI tools.

    In my interview with renowned leadership thinker Amy Leschke-Kahle, she noted this as the magic potential of AI:
"The most exciting part of AI is creating the connective tissue. We have a lot of great point solutions. But when it's going to get really transformative, we can use AI as the true connective tissue in the organization. It's simply us interacting really efficiently, and we have trust in the data that we're getting back."—Amy Leschke-Kahle.
  • Personalization: Copilot also learns from your habits within Microsoft 365, providing increasingly relevant suggestions. ChatGPT-4o’s desktop app may have something to offer here, but it’s unclear how and when.
  • Data and Security: Copilot benefits from the security features integrated with Microsoft 365, ensuring enterprise-grade data protection. It respects existing document-sharing settings better than any popular AI app.
  • Cost and Accessibility: Some Copilot services are included with Microsoft 365 subscriptions, offering a cost-effective option for businesses already using these services.

The efficiencies from integrations into the daily work fabric (Microsoft’s Jared Spatero said he rarely opens emails or attends meetings anymore), data security, and management are compelling reasons to go with Microsoft. 

Still, choosing Copilot poses potential drawbacks, such as vendor lock-in and limited customization and performance compared to popular standalone AI tools:

  • Cost: To enjoy all its features, Microsoft Copilot isn’t cheap: $360 per employee per year or a $360,000 annual fee for a typical 1,000-person company, outside of onboarding and change management costs. While free options exist, ChatGPT provides a free version with substantial features like most popular AI tools.
  • Innovation: Most Microsoft AI features fall behind the broader market, which makes sense considering additional development time and enterprise security testing. Meanwhile, ChatGPT is rolling out video and a desktop app, Gamma creates presentations conversationally, and Midjourney’s images are vastly superior to Dall-E. An enterprise reviewer on G2 found that this is why the Copilot hype is not worth the heavy investment:
"Microsoft Copilot is too costly. Can't work on long documents. Cannot index full large PDFs. Copilot in Excel works only if data is in a table and makes basic functions only. On PowerPoint, images aren't always inserted the way you want. In Outlook, it only summarizes emails and coaches you. It messes up full indexing to ask Copilot to find old conversations or make open questions. There is so much to be done." —Enterprise G2 Reviewer.
  • Diversity: While Microsoft Copilot offers a solid range of productivity boosters, it doesn’t capture the full spectrum of where AI could deliver value. Copilot has no or limited alternatives for popular tools like Suno (#10 in our AI Top 100), Grammarly (#12), and Veed (#24.)

To add to the complexity, there’s also the question of which Copilot we even refer to, as one Microsoft Redditor said

“There are 10 copilots out there per O365 product (or e.g. GitHub), and different on web vs desktop, and different on different channels. Word and Powerpoint web copilots are better than desktop. Excel copilot is still basic and only works on Excel tables.”

Best-of-Breed vs. Best-of-Suite

The Copilot vs AI apps debate generally comes down to best-of-breed vs best-of-suite. 

Best-of-breed combines specialized solutions excelling in specific areas, offering flexibility and personalization. These solutions often outperform generalized suites in niche areas. For example, taking individual subscriptions to ChatGPT, Midjourney, and Gamma AI. 

However, integrating disparate solutions can be complex. Managing multiple vendors and updates adds overhead. 

Best-of-suite solutions like Microsoft Copilot offer a comprehensive, integrated platform covering multiple functions, providing a unified experience and seamless data flow, improving efficiency.

This can offer long-term savings by avoiding integration costs. However, it has drawbacks like vendor lock-in and limited customization. Companies become heavily dependent on one vendor, making switching difficult. 

Suite offerings may also lack specialized capabilities of best-of-breed solutions, leading people to BYO-AI, as Dr. Alexandra Samuel said in our recent interview:

"Most people aren't making choices for their organization. They're personally deciding what two or three tools they will use. For most, that's choosing Claude or ChatGPT, an image generator like Ideogram, Midjourney, or DALL-E, and then maybe choosing one tool you will use for data if you do data work." —Dr. Alexandra Samuel

The Bottom Line: Copilot vs. Popular AI Tools

The decision between Microsoft Copilot and other AI tools depends on your organization's needs. 

If your company heavily relies on Microsoft 365 and values productivity within this ecosystem, Copilot is a strong contender. 

However, tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney may be more suitable for specialized tasks like creative writing or image generation. Choosing Copilot and restricting access to popular tools may also mean people take control and ‘sneak in’ their own AI tools, with all the security implications it brings.

Consider a hybrid approach that combines core suites with specialized tools to meet diverse needs.

And, of course, stay ahead by understanding the latest in AI for the workplace. 

If you haven’t joined yet, you can sign up for the next cohort of our Lead with AI course, which will give you access to our global community of business leaders implementing AI. 

In a restricted WhatsApp group, I share more insights and reports and discuss with you what they mean to us as leaders. 

Until next week,

Daan

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A weekly column and podcast on the remote, hybrid, and AI-driven future of work. By FlexOS founder Daan van Rossum.