GitHub Copilot has reportedly been costing Microsoft up to $80 per user per month in some cases as the company struggles to make its AI assistant turn a profit.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, the figures reportedly come from an unnamed individual familiar with the company, who noted that the Microsoft-owned platform was losing an average of $20 per user per month in the first few months of 2023.
It’s unclear whether things have improved since then, and the company did not immediately respond to our request for clarification.
GitHub Copilot is a bargain for users
It’s not the first time Microsoft has been examined for its profitability. In June, unredacted court documents uncovered that Azure was actually proving to be far less profitable than AWS.
GitHub Copilot uses GPT models from OpenAI to help solve coding problems. Microsoft has famously invested billions into the AI startup and has since gone on to use its models to power countless other AI tools across its businesses, including Microsoft 365 Copilot for its office software, which costs users $30 per month – considerably more than office software-only subscriptions without help from AI.
Artificial intelligence uses models that are capable of processing billions of parameters really quickly, but they require large amounts of resources like power and water for cooling. Data centers, which are already under scrutiny for their environmental impacts, are being equipped with more powerful (and more expensive) components to handle this.
Different companies have introduced different ways to control spend, including imposing caps on how many prompts a worker may use in any given month.
For now, though, it looks like GitHub Copilot could be severely underpriced and is proving to be good value, for customers at least.
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