Ex-OpenAI CEO Sam Altman Joins Microsoft

Emre Çitak
Nov 20, 2023
Companies, Microsoft

Microsoft has hired Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, the former CEO and co-founder of OpenAI, to help lead a new advanced AI research team. The move comes just days after Altman was ousted from OpenAI in a dramatic weekend that saw him and Brockman both resign from the company.

According to people familiar with the matter, Altman was pushed out of OpenAI due to concerns about his commitment to the company's mission of ensuring safe and beneficial AI. The board reportedly felt that Altman had become increasingly focused on commercializing OpenAI's technology and that his vision for the company was not aligned with their own.

Sam Altman responded to Satya Nadella's announcement at X by saying "the mission continues".

Altman's vision for Microsoft's AI future

Almost everyone is aware of the work Microsoft has been doing in recent months on AI technologies such as Copilot Studio, AI research chips Azure Cobalt 100 and Maia 100, Security Copilot, and AI-integrated Windows experience.

Altman has a clear vision for Microsoft's future, one that is deeply rooted in the transformative power of AI. He believes that AI has the potential to solve some of the world's most pressing challenges, from climate change to healthcare. Under his leadership, Microsoft is expected to invest heavily in AI research and development, with a focus on creating AI solutions that are both beneficial and responsible.

Microsoft, on the other hand, is confident that Altman and Brockman will be valuable assets to their team. In a statement announcing the hiring, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that he is "excited to have Sam and Greg join Microsoft" and that he is "looking forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success".

Who is the new OpenAI CEO?

Sam Altman's departure from OpenAI has raised questions about who will lead the company.

OpenAI has named Mira Murati as its interim CEO, following the ousting of Sam Altman, and shared a blog post about the leadership change on November 17th. Just three days later,
Emmett Shear, former CEO of Twitch, has given details about OpenAI's offer to become an interim CEO on X:

If both sides agree, Shear will lead the company while the board searches for a permanent replacement for Altman. He is expected to focus on stabilizing the company and restoring morale among employees, who were reportedly upset by Altman's departure.

In his statement, Shear said that he is "honored to be asked to help OpenAI through this transition," and that he is "committed to ensuring that the company continues to make progress in its mission to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity".

Shear's appointment comes as a surprise to many, as he is not as well-known in the AI community as some of the other candidates who were reportedly considered for the job. However, he is a respected leader in the technology industry, and he has a proven track record of success in building and managing large organizations.

It is unclear how long Shear will remain in the interim CEO role, but he is expected to stay in place for at least several months while the board conducts its search for a permanent replacement for Altman.

OpenAI is nothing without its people

Things are a bit complicated at OpenAI at the moment, as is clear from the sudden decision to replace the interim CEO. It seems that OpenAI's employees are very angry at OpenAI, which decided to fire Sam Altman, who brought the company to where it is now, in a few minutes, because almost every employee started a protest on X, saying "OpenAI is nothing without its people".

Most of the OpenAI employees have started to xeet ''OpenAI is nothing without its people'' - Image courtesy of Sam Altman/X

Ex-OpenAI Co-Founder and President Greg Brockman explained how the sudden layoff developed on X as follows:

''Sam and I are shocked and saddened by what the board did today.

Let us first say thank you to all the incredible people who we have worked with at OpenAI, our customers, our investors, and all of those who have been reaching out.

We too are still trying to figure out exactly what happened. Here is what we know:

- Last night, Sam got a text from Ilya asking to talk at noon Friday. Sam joined a Google Meet and the whole board, except Greg, was there. Ilya told Sam he was being fired and that the news was going out very soon.

- At 12:19pm, Greg got a text from Ilya asking for a quick call. At 12:23pm, Ilya sent a Google Meet link. Greg was told that he was being removed from the board (but was vital to the company and would retain his role) and that Sam had been fired. Around the same time, OpenAI published a blog post.

- As far as we know, the management team was made aware of this shortly after, other than Mira who found out the night prior.

The outpouring of support has been really nice; thank you, but please don’t spend any time being concerned. We will be fine. Greater things coming soon''.

We don't know what the future holds for OpenAI. But one thing is certain, the AI industry is going to heat up very soon.

Featured image credit: Microsoft.


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  1. JohnIL said on November 21, 2023 at 2:54 pm

    I just think Altman got the better of this anyway and the loser will be the board and Open AI.

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