December 1, 2023
Microsoft appoints former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman

Microsoft is hiring former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman.

Altman was fired from OpenAI on Friday, as the board said it “no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.” After weekend talks about potentially bringing Altman back to OpenAI, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced Sam Altman and Greg Brockman will both join Microsoft to lead its new advanced AI research team.

“We are extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman will join Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team with colleagues in AI,” says Nadella. “We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources they need to succeed.”

in a post on x (formerly Twitter), Altman acknowledged that he was joining Microsoft by reposting Nadella with the message “The mission continues.” Nadella replied By giving some indication of how he sees Altman’s role at Microsoft. “We’ve learned a lot over the last few years about how to provide space for founders and innovators to build independent identities and cultures within Microsoft, including GitHub, Mojang Studios, and LinkedIn, and I look forward to you doing the same “

Altman’s appointment comes just hours after talks with OpenAI’s board failed to bring him back as OpenAI CEO. Instead, former Twitch CEO and co-founder Emmett Shearer has been named as interim CEO. He replaces Mira Muratti, who was named interim OpenAI CEO on Friday following Altman’s unexpected dismissal.

Altman was in talks to return as OpenAI CEO, but OpenAI’s four-person board declined to step down and let him return, according to multiple sources who spoke to him. the verge, He was reportedly recently pitching to investors a separate startup to make custom, Nvidia-rivaling AI Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) chips. the new York Times, The TPU project was codenamed “Tigris”, attracting the interest of several major enterprise companies and even Microsoft.

Microsoft has now formed a new advanced AI research team led by Altman and Brockman. This comes just a week after Microsoft announced that it has created its own custom AI chip that can be used to train large language models and potentially avoid costly reliance on Nvidia. Microsoft has also created its own Arm-based CPUs for cloud workloads. Both custom silicon chips are designed to power its Azure data centers.

Microsoft’s new custom AI chip. Image: Microsoft

Altman and OpenAI were working with Microsoft to refine and test the Maia AI chip. Microsoft quickly downplayed the chip’s impact on its close Nvidia partnership, but the Maia GPUs are part of a series and the company is already working on a second generation.

Microsoft still has a “multibillion dollar investment” in OpenAI, which is rumored to be worth around $10 billion. Microsoft is the exclusive cloud partner for OpenAI, and Microsoft’s cloud services power all OpenAI workloads across products, API services, and research.

“We are committed to our partnership with OpenAI and are proud of our product roadmap, our ability to continue to innovate with everything we announced at Microsoft Ignite, and to continue supporting our customers and partners,” Nadella said in his statement. Have confidence in our ability.” “We look forward to getting to know and working with Emmett Shearer and OAI’s new leadership team.”

Update, Nov. 20 3:28 a.m. ET: Article updated with additional details from Satya Nadella on Altman’s appointment.

Updated, Nov. 20 4:33am ET: Article updated with details about OpenAI’s new CEO, Twitch co-founder Emmett Shearer.


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