On the Friday afternoon before Thanksgiving week, a clap of thunder struck the tech world: OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was fired. OpenAI’s board said Altman was fired from the company he co-founded because “he had not always been candid in his communications with the board, which hindered his ability to carry out responsibilities,” and appointed CTO Mira Murati as interim CEO.
But it quickly became clear that there was more to the story. Microsoft, which invested $13 billion in OpenAI and integrated its technology into its products, seemed caught off guard by the news. And OpenAI President Greg Brockman resigned hours after Altman’s announcement, as did several other key employees.
This is a remarkable turn of events for OpenAI, the company that sparked the generative AI boom when it launched ChatGPT in November 2022, and for Altman, who has been the face of the AI. Speculation is rife about what prompted the board to fire Altman so suddenly, what Altman and Brockman will do next (including whether both men might be rehired by OpenAI at the last minute), and what what this means for Microsoft and the rest of AI. industry.
Here is the last one:
OpenAI’s board is reportedly in discussions with Altman to bring him back as CEO, according to a report in The Verge Saturday afternoon, citing several anonymous sources. Altman is “ambivalent” about returning to the startup and would insist on major changes in corporate governance if he accepted, the report said.
A group of OpenAI investors are preparing a pressure campaign to force the company to reinstate Altman as CEO, according to Forbes report. The plan involves investors teaming up with Microsoft to threaten legal action and withholding IT resources, multiple anonymous sources told Forbes. It’s unclear whether the pressure campaign reported by Forbes is related to the board’s discussions with Altman reported by The Verge.
Altman and Brockman pitch new AI startup to investors, THE New York Times reported Saturday, citing three anonymous sources. Altman and Brockman were busy Friday evening sketching out the vision for the new company and discussing which of their former colleagues to include, according to the report.