Microsoft’s Copilot virtual assistant it to be expanded beyond being a personal assistant so it can support entire teams.

The US tech giant said it would start rolling out a version of the chatbot later this year called Team Copilot, which can “participate and collaborate with, along with the team” across Microsoft’s productivity apps.

Announced during the company’s Build developer conference, Microsoft said Team Copilot can be used to manage meeting agendas and take notes, as well as acting as a collaborator in group chats by flagging key information and tracking to-do lists.

It can also act as a project manager, assigning tasks to team members and tracking deadlines.

“Microsoft Copilot is already helping people save time and be more productive and creative,” Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for AI at work, said.

“With the announcements at Microsoft Build 2024, we’re delivering an entirely new set of capabilities that unlock Copilot’s ability to drive bottom-line business results for every organisation.

“Team Copilot expands Copilot beyond a personal assistant to act as a valuable team member, participating and contributing along with the team.

“And of course, you’re always in control: assigning tasks or responsibilities to Copilot so the whole team can be more productive, collaborative and creative together.”

Mr Spataro said the AI would work across other Microsoft apps including Teams, Loop and Planner.

Team Copilot will be available later this year to users with a Copilot for Microsoft 365 licence, the company confirmed.

Microsoft also announced it was introducing new tools that would allow users to create their own custom versions of Copilot to carry out specific business tasks.

These kind of customised and tailored assistants are known as AI agents, and are seen as an area of generative AI which will become increasingly popular with users.

The company revealed a number of new tools for software developers, centred around giving them more access to AI tools to build into their own apps to run on Windows devices.

The announcements followed more AI news from Microsoft on Monday, where it unveiled a new range of Windows PCs it said had been built with AI at their centre, called Copilot+ PCs, and would have the ability to use generative AI at any moment during their use.

The company’s pitch to be the leader in generative AI and productivity came less than a week after Google tried the same thing, announcing a wide range of updates across some of its most popular apps that will see them embrace AI much more, as well as announcing its first steps towards rebuilding its flagship search engine around AI-generated results.