In recent interviews with CNBC and Bloomberg TV, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella expressed openness to the possibility of Sam Altman returning to OpenAI in some capacity. Altman, who was fired from his role as CEO at OpenAI, had announced his intention to join a newly-formed AI research team at Microsoft. However, Nadella stated that Microsoft wants Altman and Greg Brockman, the former president of OpenAI, to have a fantastic home if they are not going to be in OpenAI. He emphasized that the decision ultimately lies with the OpenAI board, management, and employees.
Nadella’s statements align with earlier reports from The Verge, which suggested that Altman’s move to Microsoft was not yet finalized. The report indicated that Altman could potentially return to OpenAI if two of the remaining board members were to change their stance. Brockman was removed from his position as the board’s chairman, and Altman previously held the sixth seat.
Nadella also expressed the desire for changes in OpenAI’s governance, including investor relations. Microsoft and other backers have invested significant funds into OpenAI but do not have seats on the board. Nadella mentioned the need for a dialogue with OpenAI’s board regarding these governance issues.
The aftermath of Altman’s firing has been tumultuous for OpenAI. The management team and backers have been considering potential replacements for the board, while the board conducted its own CEO search and eventually selected Emmett Shear, the co-founder of Twitch. However, Shear’s appointment has faced internal controversy, with employees reportedly showing resistance and discontent.
OpenAI employees have expressed widespread revolt, with over 700 of approximately 770 employees signing a letter demanding the resignation of the board and the reinstatement of Altman. Salesforce has even attempted to capitalize on the unrest by offering matching compensation to any OpenAI researcher who joins their AI research team.
Adding to the turmoil, the board’s decision to fire Altman has been met with criticism due to a lack of detailed reasoning. Shear has stated his intention to hire an independent investigator to examine the entire process and generate a comprehensive report.
In conclusion, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has indicated that Sam Altman could potentially return to OpenAI, despite Altman’s announcement of joining Microsoft’s AI research team. Nadella also emphasized the need for changes in OpenAI’s governance. The aftermath of Altman’s firing has led to internal controversy and employee revolt at OpenAI.