Microsoft hints to investors at Microsoft 365 Copilot Release Date
On July 25th, Microsoft had their FY23 Q4 Earnings Release. That’s been extensively reported elsewhere, but there was something in the follow-up questions that I don’t think has been mentioned yet:
The release date for Microsoft 365 Copilot.
This has been eagerly anticipated every since the first official Copilot announcement and start of the (paid) preview process. Speculation intensified with the pricing announcement in July but no official date has yet been given.
Speculation: intelligent guessing
Disclaimer: Nobody outside of Microsoft knows the true GA date yet, and it’s possible that Microsoft themselves aren’t sure yet either. But, we can speculate about the date based on what we do know, and what information Microsoft passes onto investors about when they can expect to see revenue from Copilot sales. That’s what I’ve done in this blog post, so treat these date estimates with the appropriate amount of caution.
At the end of every Earnings Call there is a chance for some Q&A from the investors and analysts present. Responding to a question by Karl Keirstead, Software Equity Research at UBS, Microsoft’s CFO Amy Hood said this:
“As you know, last week, we announced pricing. Then we’ll continue to work through the paid preview process, get good feedback. Then we’ll announce the general availability date. Then we’ll get to the GA date. Then we’ll, of course, be able to sell it and then recognize revenue. And that is why I continue to say that I am just as excited as everyone else about this, and it should be more H2 weighted.”Amy Hood, FY23 Q4 Earnings Call. Full transcript: FY23 Q4 – Press Releases – Investor Relations – Microsoft
What does that mean?
Amy is describing the process that Microsoft will go through with Copilot, from now to GA. Right now we’re in the paid preview and feedback collection process.
After that will be the GA announcement, where the date is fixed and communicated.
Once that GA date arrives and Copilot can be sold, that’s when Microsoft is able to recognise revenue against it.
Finally, Amy expresses her excitement about Copilot coming, and then mentions that investors should expect it to be “more H2 weighted”.
Microsoft’s fiscal year runs from July 1st to June 30, so H2 covers the calendar period from January 1st 2024 – June 30th 2024.
If Microsoft expects (some/all/most) of their Copilot revenue to happen in this period, then the GA date would need to be either at the start of that period or shortly before or after it.
Based on this information, I think Microsoft will GA Copilot on one of three dates that occupy this period, depending on their preview feedback and how well the development work is going:
- if things are going really well: GA on November 14th 2023 at Microsoft Ignite
- if things are going OK: GA in January at a dedicated event, or January 1st 2024 (purely because it’s the start of H2)
- if things really need to slip, maybe Microsoft will wait as long as Microsoft Build 2024, but that’s not traditionally until May which doesn’t leave a lot of time to recognise revenue in H2.
In the meantime…
These are just guesses though, and whilst it’s easier to get hung up on the exact date, what’s actually more important is making sure that you and your organisation are ready for Microsoft 365 Copilot when it does come.
Even with this rough approximation of the GA window, organisations need to be considering what steps they should be taking today to prepare.
Read my blog post: How to prepare for Microsoft 365 Copilot (as a organisation, AND as a developer) to understand what steps your organisation should be taking, plus what to tell your development team to work on to ensure you are best placed to make the most of Microsoft 365 Copilot when it does arrive.