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Microsoft hires ex-OpenAI leaders Altman and Brockman to lead new AI group

Image Credits: TechCrunch
Image Credits: TechCrunch

Microsoft appointed Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, the co-founders of OpenAI, to lead a “new advanced AI research team,” the software giant’s CEO, Satya Nadella, announced on Monday. This announcement ends three days of heated deliberations that followed Altman’s sudden dismissal by the OpenAI board.

Last week, many OpenAI employees, including co-founder Brockman, quit the company in protest. Altman will lead Microsoft’s new artificial intelligence division, according to Nadella. “I’m looking forward to having you do the same. We’ve learned a lot over the years about how to give founders and innovators space within Microsoft, including GitHub, Mojang Studios, and LinkedIn.”

“Colleagues” will accompany Altman and Brockman, according to Nadella. According to a post on X by Brockman, former OpenAI top talent Szymon Sidor, Jakub Pachocki, and Aleksander Madry are joining Microsoft with “more” to follow suit. According to a letter that OpenAI staff wrote on Monday requesting the resignation of the board, Microsoft has provided employment offers to every employee.

“We’re excited to move swiftly to give them the tools they need to succeed,” Nadella stated, exemplifying “incredible execution” in the eyes of many techies. The new team will create “something new, and it will be incredible,” Brockman continued in a post. Nadella stated that the Windows maker is still dedicated to the startup. His company has spent over $10 billion on OpenAI and now has over 50% of the company.

The swift action of OpenAI’s board allegedly caught Microsoft off guard. Amazingly, Nadella persuaded the former OpenAI executives to join him in a comfortable new location before the market opened on Monday.

The most valuable startup in the United States, OpenAI, has Altman as its public face. In less than a year, it has not only taken the lead in the current AI race, according to many estimates, but it has also taken on the role of kingmaker for thousands of other firms building on top of its software solutions. Investment in OpenAI has also aided Microsoft’s AI efforts, which has helped them gain the favor of numerous businesses.

Many well-known investors and business leaders have expressed astonishment at OpenAI’s move, cautioning that the startup might find it difficult to continue moving forward at its current rate without Altman’s guidance. Microsoft’s calculated decision to acquire Altman and Brockman strengthens its competitive advantage, keeps other big tech firms from stealing their know-how, and supports Wall Street’s optimistic assessment of Microsoft’s future.

“The mission continues,” Altman declared after Nadella revealed the 38-year-old businessman’s acquisition of Microsoft.

Microsoft’s decision follows a turbulent weekend in which the OpenAI board, investors, team members, and Altman tried vainly to persuade the entrepreneur to rejoin the business instead. In a move that startled Altman, the OpenAI board named Emmett Shear, a co-founder and former Twitch chief executive, as its interim CEO. OpenAI did not answer a comment request.

“OpenAI is nothing without its people,” tweeted over two dozen OpenAI staff members, seemingly endorsing Altman and going against the board’s directives. According to the New York Times, Altman also pitched a new AI startup to investors earlier this weekend.

“We are steadfast in our dedication to the OpenAI partnership, confident in our product roadmap, our capacity for innovation in light of everything we revealed at Microsoft Ignite, and our ability to serve our partners and customers.” We’re excited to collaborate with Emmett Shear and OAI’s new leadership group,” Nadella continued.

According to their statement, the OpenAI board dismissed Altman because he had not been “consistently candid” in their interactions. The lack of explanation infuriated a lot of OpenAI staff members. According to a research scientist at OpenAI, Andrej Karpathy, who posted on X, the board missed an opportunity to justify its extreme measures.

Wedbush analysts referred to the action as an “earthquake” and stated that OpenAI’s technology is “basically the heart and soul of Redmond’s Copilot and enterprise strategy.” According to the report from Saturday, TechCrunch reported that “losing the key torchbearer around the AI strategy in Altman as well as Brockman is a clear near-term (and potentially long-term) blow to some of the future strategic initiatives at OpenAI.”

Top talent at OpenAI, including CTO Mira Murati, disputed the board’s decision on Monday, causing numerous talents to depart the company. The tweet stated, “OpenAI is nothing without its people.”

Shear acknowledged that OpenAI’s communication and procedure surrounding Altman’s termination “have been mishandled, which has seriously damaged our trust” in a post on Monday. Shear stated that to serve OpenAI customers better, He intends to reorganize the management and leadership team, appoint an independent investigator to thoroughly assess the procedures that led to Altman’s dismissal, and undertake in-depth talks with relevant parties over the next 30 days.

“I will drive changes in the company, up to and including firmly pressing for significant governance changes, if necessary, depending on the outcomes and everything we learn from them. I will implement these over the next 30 days as they become apparent. The stability and development of OpenAI are too vital to let unrest like this undermine them. Though in many cases I think it may take longer than a month to achieve meaningful progress, I will try to address the important problems as well,” he added.

“What Sam and the entire OpenAI team have created is something I appreciate beyond measure. The software and research initiative is excellent, and the company behind it is equally impressive. I am here because I am aware of this, and I want to utilize every resource at my disposal to safeguard and expand it.

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