The dramatic cycle of firing, hiring, and change at Open AI has taken another turn as co-founder and now ex-CEO Sam Altman has announced that he will be joining Microsoft in an attempt to help the company rev up its presence in the AI space.
Altman will be joined by Greg Brockman, the former president and co-founder of Open AI who quit after Altman was fired by the Board on Friday.
Related: ‘The Board No Longer Has Confidence In His Ability’: ChatGPT Fires Controversial CEO Sam Altman
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella confirmed the news on X, noting that the two men would be joined by other colleagues and that the team is looking forward to “moving quickly” on getting the ball rolling.
We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI and have confidence in our product roadmap, our ability to continue to innovate with everything we announced at Microsoft Ignite, and in continuing to support our customers and partners. We look forward to getting to know Emmett…
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) November 20, 2023
Microsoft currently holds a $13 billion stake in Open AI.
On Friday, Altman was fired after a “deliberative review process” by the company’s Board, which alleged that the founder was “not consistently candid in his communications” and that the Board moving forward would “no longer have confidence” in Altman leading the company
Sam Altman fired by OpenAI after a “deliberative review process by the board.”
In their words: pic.twitter.com/1EQPgUWqGa
— Derek Thompson (@DKThomp) November 17, 2023
Altman took to X on Friday to share his thoughts on his departure and the future of the company, calling his firing a “weird experience” and an “unexpected” turn of events.
i love you all.
today was a weird experience in many ways. but one unexpected one is that it has been sorta like reading your own eulogy while you’re still alive. the outpouring of love is awesome.
one takeaway: go tell your friends how great you think they are.
— Sam Altman (@sama) November 18, 2023
On Monday, Altman alluded that he and the other Open AI employees — namely Mira Murati, COO Brad Lightcap, and Chief Strategy Officer Jason Kwon — would all “work together some way or other” and that they remained “one team, one mission.”
Murati was replaced as interim CEO by Emmer Shear (the former CEO of Twitch) and has resumed her role as Chief Technology Officer.
Related: Who Is OpenAI Co-Founder Sam Altman?
Though not much is specifically known about the reasoning behind Altman’s departure, Lightcap penned an internal company memo to address the rumors and speculations.
We can say definitively that the board’s decision was not made in response to malfeasance or anything related to our financial, business, safety, or security/privacy practices,” he wrote. “This was a breakdown in communication between Sam and the board.”
Altman co-founded OpenAI in 2015 (alongside other names including Elon Musk) and instantly became a pioneer in the technology industry after rolling out the infamous ChatGPT last year.
“I think if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong, and we want to be vocal about that. We want to work with the government to prevent that from happening,” Altman said during a Senate hearing in May at a conference discussing the regulation of AI technology. “But we try to be very clear-eyed about what the downside case is and the work that we have to do to mitigate that.”
This is a developing story.