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January 4, 2024

Microsoft’s New AI Button Marks First Windows Keyboard Addition in Three Decades

Organizations are looking at different ways to use artificial intelligence (AI) in their operations, products, and service offerings. Microsoft has already shared their plans to invest heavily in AI, including substantial investment in Open AI

The tech giant is adding a new button to the Windows keyboard to activate the Microsoft AI Copilot. This is the first change in the Windows keyboard in 30 years. The dedicated key will be located to the right of the spacebar. Users can press the key to access the recently released Microsoft Copilot service, which offers a wide range of capabilities including the ability to summarize documents and virtual meetings. It can also be used as a search engine or AI chatbot. 

The AI button will either replace the menu key or the right control key on some keyboards. The release date for the upgrade has not been confirmed yet. It is expected to be released on the upcoming Microsoft Surface devices. 

The addition of the key might be the first such move in decades, however, it is not surprising. Microsoft has signaled its ambitions for AI-enabled PCs and this AI button aligns with that goal. 

“We believe it will empower people to participate in the AI transformation more easily,” Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s executive vice president and consumer chief marketing officer, wrote on Thursday. “The new key will invoke the Copilot in Windows experience to make it seamless to engage Copilot in your day-to-day. We see this as another transformative moment in our journey with Windows where Copilot will be the entry point into the world of AI on the PC.” 

In November last year, Microsoft announced the largest AI investment in the UK with a pledge to pump $3.2 billion in Britain over the next three years. The AI button announcement highlights Microsoft’s commitment to artificial intelligence. 

Microsoft has already incorporated AI in its products including the Windows 11 and Microsoft search engine Bing. The announcement of the new button comes just days ahead of the CES next week, which might feature the first wave of Windows laptops and PCs with the AI button. 

The release of the new AI button might not be universal as some countries have not authorized Microsoft Copilot. Companies such as LG and Dell have already announced their new laptops ahead of CES 2024. There has been no official announcement from laptop manufacturers about which models will feature the AI button, however, we can expect the new key to be available on Windows 11 laptops released from February onwards. 

The addition of the AI button is expected to make Microsoft Copilot more easy to use. Microsoft executives will also be hoping it can help Microsoft challenge Google’s search engine dominance, which has come under some threat with the recent DOJ court trial in which Google is accused of having a monopoly over search engines through pre-written agreements with tech manufacturers. The arrival of the AI button could just be the catalyst Microsoft needs to gain some precious market share. 

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