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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman Joins Microsoft’s Advanced AI Research Team

In a surprising turn of events, former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has found a new home at Microsoft, where he, along with co-founder Greg Brockman, will lead a groundbreaking advanced AI research team. This announcement comes just days after Altman’s unexpected departure from OpenAI, following what appeared to be a contentious boardroom shake-up.

After being ousted from OpenAI, Altman spent the weekend engaged in a pressure campaign aimed at the startup’s board of directors, who had played a role in his removal. The result was a groundswell of support from investors, employees, and key figures within OpenAI, demonstrating the impact Altman had made during his tenure.

Despite negotiations and discussions over the weekend regarding Altman’s potential return to OpenAI, the board decided to move forward with a different leader. Emmett Shear, former Twitch CEO and co-founder, is reported to have been appointed as the interim CEO of OpenAI, replacing Mira Murati.

Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, seized the opportunity to bring Altman into the Microsoft fold, recognizing the immense potential Altman holds in advancing artificial intelligence research. Nadella announced on X (formerly Twitter) that Altman and Brockman, along with their colleagues, would be spearheading Microsoft’s new advanced AI research team.

Nadella expressed Microsoft’s unwavering commitment to its partnership with OpenAI, emphasizing confidence in the product roadmap unveiled during the recent Microsoft Ignite conference. The hiring of Altman and Brockman is expected to play a pivotal role in realizing the features and promises outlined during the conference.

Nadella’s response to Altman’s acknowledgment on social media provided insights into how Microsoft envisions Altman’s role within the company. Drawing from past experiences with other founders, Nadella highlighted Microsoft’s approach of giving innovators the space to build independent identities and cultures.

Altman’s departure from OpenAI prompted a reevaluation of the company’s governance structure. The startup, initially established as a nonprofit, later transitioned into a for-profit entity with Microsoft as its major investor. The changes in leadership and ongoing scrutiny suggest potential adjustments to the organization’s unconventional structure.

Microsoft’s multibillion-dollar investment in OpenAI, estimated at around $10 billion, underscores the strategic partnership between the two tech giants. As the exclusive cloud partner for OpenAI, Microsoft’s cloud services power all aspects of OpenAI’s workloads, spanning products, API services, and research.

While Altman’s return to OpenAI didn’t materialize, his move to Microsoft signals a new chapter in his illustrious career. Microsoft, a tech powerhouse with a keen focus on AI, gains a seasoned leader with Altman’s expertise. The developments over the weekend highlight the dynamic nature of the tech industry and the critical role influential figures like Sam Altman play in shaping its trajectory.

As Altman and Brockman embark on leading Microsoft’s advanced AI research team, the tech community eagerly anticipates the innovative breakthroughs and contributions they will bring to the ever-evolving field of artificial intelligence.

David Faber
David Faber
I am a Business Journalist of The National Era
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