Exclusive: Microsoft plans to bring its AI Copilot to 1 billion Windows 10 users

 Microsoft Copilot prerelease 2023.
Microsoft Copilot prerelease 2023.

Microsoft began rolling out its new AI assistant for Windows earlier this year with the Windows 11 version 23H2 release, which adds a new Microsoft Copilot button directly to the Taskbar. Microsoft has been putting its Copilot in front of every user it can, but there's still a large chunk of PC users on the older Windows 10 OS which hasn't seen any of Microsoft's recent AI additions. That may soon be changing.

According to my sources, Microsoft is planning to bring the same Microsoft Copilot to Windows 10 in an update coming soon. Just like Windows 11, this update to Windows 10 will place a Copilot button directly on the Windows 10 taskbar, which will open the exact same Copilot sidebar experience found on Windows 11.

The main reason behind this decision is market share. Windows 10 is still in use on around 1 billion monthly active devices, compared to the 400 million monthly active devices on Windows 11. Microsoft views that additional 1 billion users as an untapped market for Copilot expansion, and so adding Copilot to Windows 10 is an obvious next step for the company.

Microsoft will also have an easier time selling developers on the idea that they should build plugins for Copilot when they can say Copilot is available on 1.4 billion devices, compared to just 400 million on Windows 11. The more users Copilot has, the bigger reason a developer has to code for Copilot instead of a competitor.

I understand the experience and capabilities of Copilot across Windows 10 and Windows 11 will be roughly the same, including plugin compatibility across both versions of the OS.

I've also heard that Windows' new bosses are keen to keep Windows 10 users up to date with select new features and services, and that Windows Copilot is just one of a handful of features that the company is planning to backport to the older OS. This change in strategy stands in stark contrast to Panay's, which moved on from Windows 10 quite quickly.

I have asked my sources if Microsoft is planning to extend the end of support date of Windows 10, which is currently set for October 2025. I’m told discussions about this are ongoing internally, but that a decision hasn’t yet been made.