News & Analysis

Brace-up to Pay for ChatGPT Now

Given the enormous investments, OpenAI is now looking to charge for their smart AI chatbot, especially since Microsoft is lurking around for a share of the pie

The wow factor that resonated with ChatGPT, an AI chatbot that helps you write everything from love letters to web page content and everything in-between was dampened amidst reports that the technology was being used to write malicious code. Now, there’s another bummer in the form of users having to pay for a professional version of the technology. 

The company behind ChatGPT has indicated that it could soon be charging for use of the AI-powered chatbot. OpenAI made an announcement to this effect on its official Discord server stating that it was starting to think about how to monetize the product as part of ways to ensure the tool’s long-term viability. 

It said the monetized version of ChatGPT would be called ChatGPT Professional and that there was a waitlist link that OpenAI posted on the server. It asks a wide range of questions to users around payment preferences including a specific query about the price point that one would consider ChatGPT to be too expensive to reconsider a purchase. 


So, what would the paid users get extra?

And what’s it that paid users would be getting? For starters, there would be no blackout windows or unavailability that general users have experienced. Nor would there be throttling of bandwidth and paid users would get an unlimited number of messages with the tool – at least 2x of what the regular daily limit is supposed to be. 

According to OpenAI, those who fill out the waitlist form would be selected to pilot the ChatGPT Professional. However, they also made it clear that this was an experimental program that will not be available across the network at any time. Given the fact that ChatGPT has been a public win, with users ranging from ad copywriters to Microsoft, OpenAI is in a good space. 


Capture the imagination, seek a price

With over a million users and more as of early December, ChatGPT has captured the imagination of the internet. However, it is also a costly business as OpenAI cofounder and CEO Sam Altman says: “amounting to a few cents per chat in total computing costs, the operating expenses are quite eye-watering.”

There is also additional pressure to at least seek a road to profitability given that companies such as Microsoft are reportedly readying a $10 billion investment in OpenAI. The company expects to rake in $200 million during 2023, which is hardly anything compared to the $1 billion that has gone into its making since inception. 

It has been suggested that Microsoft could be paying $10 billion to net a 49% stake in OpenAI, which would value the company at around $29 billion. The terms of the deal, as reported by Semafor, indicate that Microsoft would get three-fourths of OpenAI’s profits till the investments it made are recovered. Additional investors could be netting another 49% with OpenAI retaining the remaining 2% of the equity. 

It was reported some days ago that Microsoft was planning to use ChatGPT in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Outlook and other apps so that customers can automatically generate text using simple prompts. Given that Microsoft has struggled for over a year to create personalized AI tools for composing emails and documents using OpenAI’s machine-learning models, this move to acquire the technology does make sense. 

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