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OpenAI to face mass exodus as Microsoft snags Sam Altman

OpenAI seems to have fallen into a state of chaos following the dismissal of Sam Altman, and things are only looking to get worse for the AI giant. The former chief executive has been hired by Microsoft, and roughly 95 per cent of staff are looking to follow.

user icon Daniel Croft
Tue, 21 Nov 2023
OpenAI to face mass exodus as Microsoft snags Sam Altman
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Despite anticipation that Altman would be reinstated as OpenAI CEO, the company has moved in a different direction, hiring former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear.

Following this, Microsoft quickly appointed Altman as the chief of a new advanced AI intelligence team, alongside former OpenAI board chairman Greg Brockman, who was also ousted by the AI giant.

“We’re extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote on X (formerly Twitter).


“We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success.”

Microsoft is a major investor in OpenAI, owning a majority 49 per cent share of the company. It has invested US$13 billion in OpenAI, granting it the role in the future of the company and the commercialisation of its products.

As a result, Altman and Brockman will still be working closely with their former employers, with Nadella expressing that upholding the partnership between OpenAI and Microsoft is a key priority.

“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,” he said.

“We look forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and OAI’s new leadership team and working with them.”

Altman, undeterred by a rollercoaster the last few days, shares Nadella’s view on making the partnership work.

“Satya and my top priority remains [sic] to ensure OpenAI continues to thrive,” he said on X.

“We are committed to fully providing continuity of operations to our partners and customers.

“The OpenAI/Microsoft partnership makes this very doable.”

Despite the former CEO’s positive outlook, things at OpenAI have taken a turn for the worse, with reportedly almost 95 per cent of staff looking to follow Altman.

Almost all of the company’s 700 employees demand that the board resign and that if they don’t, and Altman isn’t reinstated, they will quit.

“Your actions have made it obvious that you are incapable of overseeing OpenAI,” the staff expressed in an open letter to the four remaining OpenAI board members, first seen by tech publication Wired.

“We are unable to work for or with people that lack competence, judgment and care for our mission and employees.

“We, the undersigned, may choose to resign from OpenAI and join the newly announced Microsoft subsidiary run by Sam Altman and Greg Brockman.

“We will take this step imminently, unless all current board members resign … and [reinstate] Sam Altman and Greg Brockman.”

Following this, OpenAI employees took to X to show their support.

Altman, however, continues to express his positivity about the move, saying that it has created a new sense of unity.

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Daniel Croft is a passionate journalist with an understanding for and experience writing in the technology space. Having studied at Macquarie University, he joined Momentum Media in 2022, writing across a number of publications including Australian Aviation, Cyber Security Connect and Defence Connect. Outside of writing, Daniel has a keen interest in music, and spends his time playing in bands around Sydney.

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