Sam Altman set to join Microsoft - Nadella

November 20, 2023 5:48 AM EST
(Updated - November 20, 2023 6:17 AM EST) -- Microsoft is set to hire Sam Altman to lead a new advanced artificial intelligence research team, in a move that comes just days after the prominent AI-industry figure was ousted as CEO of OpenAI.

In a post on social media platform X announcing the appointment, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) CEO Satya Nadella wrote that he is "look[ing] forward to moving quickly" to provide Altman and Greg Brockman -- who was also removed from his role as OpenAI president -- "with the resources needed for their success."

Earlier on Monday, The Information reported that Altman, one of the leading voices in a global debate over the rapid expansion of nascent AI technology, will no longer return as OpenAI's CEO despite executive efforts to rehire him. The report cited an internal address by co-founder and board director Ilya Sutskever.

The artificial intelligence firm will instead hire streaming site Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear as interim CEO, according to the report.

Altman was seen meeting with OpenAI’s board over the weekend, after he was unexpectedly sacked on Friday and replaced on an interim basis by Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati. OpenAI’s board said that Altman had not been “candid” in his communication.

His ouster came as a shock to current and former employees at the AI group. Some staff expressed sympathy and outrage over the unexpected move, fueling speculation over a potential exodus of talent away from OpenAI.

The turmoil, which The Information said followed an internal disagreement over AI safety, threatens to cast a pall over the direction of OpenAI just one week after its megapopular chatbot ChatGPT reached 100 million weekly users. OpenAI investors were also fearful that Altman's exit could jeopardize an upcoming share sale.

The firing came just weeks after what was seen as a fairly successful developers conference for OpenAI, where Altman unveiled new updates for ChatGPT. OpenAI had even suspended new subscriptions for its ChatGPT Plus subscription service, citing overheated demand in the wake of the DevDay conference.

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