Microsoft has hired OpenAI co-founders Sam Altman and Greg Brockman to lead a “new advanced AI research team,” Satya Nadella, head of the software conglomerate, said Monday. three days of intense discussions following the unexpected decision of the OpenAI board of directors to fire Altman.
Many OpenAI members, including co-founder Brockman, left the company in protest last week. Nadella said Altman and Brockman would be joined by “colleagues.” Brockman said former OpenAI talents Szymon Sidor, Jakub Pachocki and Aleksander Madry were joining Microsoft with “others” to follow suit. (Curiously missing from the list so far is Mira Murati, the former OpenAI CTO who was named interim CEO following Altman’s firing.)
“We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources they need to succeed,” Nadella said, in what many tech entrepreneurs called an example of “incredible execution.” Brockman said the new team will build “something new and it will be amazing.”
Nadella, whose company invested more than $10 billion in OpenAI and acquired nearly 50% of it, said the Windows maker remains committed to the startup. Microsoft was reportedly surprised by the sudden action of the OpenAI board. It is remarkable that Nadella managed to convince and find a new familiar home for the former OpenAI executives before the market opened on Monday.
Altman has been the public face of OpenAI, America’s most valuable startup. Not only is it widely considered to be at the forefront of today’s AI race, but it has also assumed the position of kingmaker for thousands of other startups that rely on its offerings in less than a year. software. The investment in OpenAI also boosted Microsoft’s AI efforts, helping it woo many companies and giving Wall Street plenty of confidence about the decades-old software giant’s future prospects.
Microsoft’s decision comes after a tumultuous weekend in which OpenAI’s board, its investors, team members and Altman unsuccessfully tried to get the entrepreneur back at the startup. OpenAI’s board instead opted to hire former Twitch CEO and co-founder Emmett Shear as interim CEO, a move that reportedly shocked Altman. OpenAI did not respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this weekend, Altman also began launch a new AI company to investors, according to the New York Times.
“We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI and are confident in our product roadmap, our ability to continue to innovate with everything we announced at Microsoft Ignite, and to continue supporting our customers and partners. We look forward to getting to know and working with Emmett Shear and the new OAI leadership team,” added Nadella.
OpenAI’s board said it removed Altman because he had not been “consistently candid” in his conversations with them. The reasoning was not developed, which angered many OpenAI employees. “The board had the opportunity to explain its drastic actions and it did not take it,” Andrej Karpathy, a research scientist at OpenAI, wrote on X.