In a story with more dramatic turns than a soap opera, recently ousted OpenAI founder and CEO Sam Altman will be joining Microsoft in a deal that could spell trouble for his old company.
OpenAI’s board voted to remove Altman from leadership citing their lack of confidence due to his not keeping them in the loop on several strategic decisions.
This led to an immediate backlash by investors, including and especially Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who was reportedly furious upon learning of the news.
Microsoft had pledged $13 billion in funding to the generative AI startup and based much of the company’s upcoming product releases on embedding OpenAI’s ChatGPT into its software.
Interestingly, much of the $13 billion in investments centers around the computing power that OpenAI needs to train its models.
The deal provided OpenAI with access to Microsoft’s huge AI data centers, which gives Microsoft an outsized say in what becomes of the company and the partnership.
Several of OpenAI’s technology leaders turned in their resignations in support of Altman, and it can be assumed they will join him in helping to form the new AI wing at Microsoft.
In the meantime, OpenAI announced that it had hired Twitch Founder and former CEO Emmett Shear to take over as CEO of OpenAI.
Shear had started the live-streaming service in 2007 and oversaw its rise and ultimate sale to Amazon for $1 billion in 2014.
He remained Twitch’s CEO until last year when he stepped down to spend more time with his family.
Microsoft’s Nadella tweeted the news about both Shear’s hiring and the bombshell news about Altman and the team joining Microsoft.
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