As the dust begins to settle following a whirlwind of events at OpenAI, former CEO Sam Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman landed at Microsoft. Altman was fired from OpenAI on Friday by the board of directors, which set off a chain of events filled with more drama than a Hollywood blockbuster.
The decision by the board of directors seemed to come out of nowhere, as Altman and investors stated they had no idea it was coming. Following Altman’s termination, co-founder Greg Brockman quickly showed his allegiance to his friend by announcing to the OpenAI staff he had quit. The events on Friday sent a shock wave throughout the tech world, with most trying to figure out what the heck happened.
Investors, such as Microsoft, urged OpenAI to reverse its decision and reinstate Altman as CEO. Altman was reported as saying the only way he would return was if everyone on the board of directors resigned and fellow OpenAI employee Ilya Sutskever was fired. He also wanted an apology from all involved in his ousting as CEO. The pressure from investors seemed to work, as OpenAI opened up negotiations with Altman to return on Saturday. But, after two days there still had been no announcement from either side that the negotiations were successful.
Then, late last night, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella posted a tweet, remarking, “And we’re extremely excited to share that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to head a new advanced AI research team. We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success.”
Altman did end up getting at least one apology. Ilya Sutskever posted a tweet early this morning, remarking, “I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions. I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we’ve built together and I will do everything I can to reunite the company.”
With a few questions having been answered, such as the future of Altman and Brockman, there are still many that are left unanswered. Questions such as, “What drove the board of directors to decide to oust Altman?” As well as, “What stood in the way of the board of directors reinstating Altman as CEO?'” and “Who all left OpenAI to join Altman and Brockman at Microsoft?”
For now, however, OpenAI has a new interim CEO, Emmett Shear. In Nadella’s tweet, he did remark that Microsoft will continue to support OpenAI and that he has confidence in the product’s roadmap. It would not be surprising if there was already a movie about the roller coaster weekend already in the making.