Power BI has proven quite popular among its early adopters, Phillips said. In the six months it has been available in beta, it picked up users at more than 45,000 companies in 185 countries. The product puts Microsoft into competition with Tableau, its neighbor in Seattle which also offers data visualization tools on a software-as-a-service model.
Once the service reaches general availability, Phillips said that he expects the Power BI team will increase its pace of launching new features. The company releases a new version of Power BI every week, and there's still plenty more to be done.
"For the last year, we have been dividing our energy between laying the foundational stuff and the core infrastructure, and building the features on top of that," he said. "We've gotten to a place now that we're able to shift a lot more energy back to features once we're at [general availability]."
People can try Power BI for free by signing up with their business email address and using the service's free tier, which caps its data capacity at 1GB per user and only allows them to refresh their data daily. A Power BI Pro subscription costs US$9.99 per user per month, and ups the service's data capacity to 10GB per user and adds support for hourly refresh along with a bunch of other benefits.