Satya Nadella has announced that former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was fired from his position over the weekend. OpenAI Co-founder Greg Bockman and a number of key AI developers from the company are also joining Microsoft.
Nadella confirmed the X-OpenAI team are joining to create a new advanced AI research team. Importantly Nadella recognises the opportunity that has emerged from the chaos in the past 48 hours, moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for success.
Minutes after Nadella’s post, Altman posted on X.
As a reminder, Microsoft has exclusive rights to Whitelabel OpenAI technology and have taken the LLM models and integrated them into a range of Microsoft services like Bing Chat and CoPilot.
This is an incredible chess move from Microsoft.
The board of OpenAI are still yet to provide detail on the reasons behind Altman’s firing.
It is likely that the Microsoft $10 billion investment in OpenAI included a non-compete clause for active talent. By firing Altman, OpenAI board made a critical (potentially fatal) mistake by firing him, effectively adding him (+followers) to the free agent pool.
Microsoft snapped up some serious AI talent here and should make the rest of the AI landscape nervous as the bucket of funds available to Altman at Microsoft is likely to exceed the $10Bil they paid to OpenAI.