Greetings, tech pioneers!
It’s Monday, November 20. And we have a special edition for you today.
The biggest tech news story of 2023 hit the Internet on Friday. Sam Altman, co-founder and CEO of OpenAI, had been fired with the motivation that he had not been "consistently candid" with the board.
During the weekend, there has been almost live reporting of the boardroom dance of getting him back and other resignations. Then, on Monday, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella announced that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman would join the company and form a new advanced AI team.
The firing of Sam Altman might significantly impact the AI industry. The product plans, roadmap, and prioritizations might shift from the leading player in the field. Given the success of OpenAI’s products, this move is like if Steve Jobs had been fired a year after the iPhone launch, which would have been weird, to say the least.
We have done our best to plot the events on a timeline from the top to the bottom, starting on Friday and going into Monday. This news story continues to develop, and we have included every vital news story we have found up until the publication of this newsletter update.
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Sam Altman has been dismissed as OpenAI's CEO, accused of not being "consistently candid" with the board. Following speculation around his abrupt termination, Altman issued a cryptic statement promising further clarification. OpenAI has recently faced turbulence, including a significant ChatGPT outage due to a DDoS attack amid the GPT-4 Turbo and custom GPTs launch.
Co-founder and President of OpenAI, Greg Brockman, is announcing his departure. This comes hours after co-founder and Sam Altman dismissed CEO Sam Altman due to lost confidence in his leadership. Brockman was originally slated to remain with the company, reporting to the new CEO.
OpenAI has installed its CTO, Mira Murati, as interim CEO. An engineer with experience at Elon Musk's Tesla, Murati has been at the forefront of OpenAI’s product development, with marquee products, including ChatGPT, under her stewardship. Despite a similar standpoint to Altman on the urgency of AI regulation, she differs in her refusal to halt OpenAI's development pace for potential catastrophe-preventing measures.
The sudden removal of CEO Sam Altman from OpenAI has sent shockwaves through the tech industry. Key venture capital backers say they should have been notified in advance, including Microsoft, which invested over $10 billion in OpenAI. The management shakeup reportedly blindsided Vinod Khosla, Reid Hoffman, and other well-known investors.
OpenAI’s uncommon corporate structure made the ousting of Sam Altman possible. Unlike typical founders, Altman needed more equity and hence had minimal control, leaving him more susceptible to a boardroom coup. The nonprofit priority structure of OpenAI and capped-profit subsidiary OpenAI Global also contravened normal profit-driven business models, further weakening Altman's position. His departure raises questions about the organization's future direction and potential legal proceedings.
OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap confirmed the unexpected dismissal of CEO Sam Altman, citing a "breakdown in communication" with the board. He reassured employees that the decision wasn't linked to any misconduct or business/safety issues and stated the company remains robust with Microsoft's full partnership. Discussions about future plans are ongoing.
OpenAI has lost three key researchers: director of research Jakub Pachocki, AI risk evaluator Aleksander Madry, and seven-year researcher Szymon Sidor. Their departures follow CEO Sam Altman's controversial firing and President Greg Brockman's sudden resignation.
Ousted OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is reportedly planning a new venture, likely to include former OpenAI president Greg Brockman. This came following Altman's sudden dismissal and expected additional staff departures from OpenAI, with several possibly joining the new initiative.
Prior to his unexpected removal from OpenAI, Sam Altman was reportedly attempting to raise billions for a new chip venture, code-named Tigris, intended to compete with Nvidia. Discussions with investors were underway, focusing on an AI-centered chip company. Altman’s plans also encompass development an AI-focused hardware device alongside former Apple design chief Jony Ive. Potential backers include SoftBank Group Corp., Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and Mubadala Investment Company, among others. Microsoft, OpenAI's biggest investor, is reportedly interested in supporting Altman’s venture.
The OpenAI board is reportedly in talks with recently removed CEO Sam Altman about his potential return amid significant internal unrest, including multiple resignations. Altman, however, is only hesitant about rejoining if significant governance changes are enacted. The reshuffle exposes uncertainties about OpenAI's future, particularly against the background of a race among rivals to catch up with its pivotal product, ChatGPT.
OpenAI's interim CEO, Mira Murati, is planning to re-hire ex-predecessor Sam Altman and former President Greg Brockman, in undefined roles. However, OpenAI's board members are simultaneously seeking a different CEO, a decision opposed by key investors, including Microsoft Corp. and Thrive Capital. This reportedly has emphasized the deep divisions at OpenAI.
OpenAI is reported to be hopeful of rehiring Sam Altman, Greg Brockman, and other pivotal staff who left following Altman's abrupt termination, according to a memo from Chief Strategy Officer Jason Kwon. An additional update is expected by the executives mid-morning tomorrow.
OpenAI negotiations to reinstate Sam Altman as CEO have hit a hurdle over board composition. Key executives and investors pushing for Altman's return seek to remove existing board members, a request that the board has yet to acquiesce. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, leading these critical discussions, faces delicate diplomacy given Microsoft's $13 billion investment in OpenAI. Discord persistently hinges on Altman's aggressive product development ambitions and correlating AI safety concerns.
Following the announcement that former CEO Sam Altman will not be reinstated, dozens of OpenAI staff members have resigned. This mass departure could hinder the company's progress and may reshape the landscape of the artificial intelligence sector as other contenders like Google have been aggressively targeting OpenAI employees.
OpenAI's board has chosen former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear as the new interim CEO, replacing ousted CEO Sam Altman and CTO Mira Murati. Microsoft's stock fell following Altman's departure due to its investment in OpenAI and the usage of its products in AI development. Many OpenAI employees backed Altman and ex-President Greg Brockman, suggesting they might join any new venture they form.
Microsoft recruits former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman to head a new advanced AI research team after Altman's failed OpenAI return negotiations.
Microsoft has poached former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman to lead a newly established advanced AI research team following failed negotiations for Altman's return to OpenAI. This move comes as Microsoft revealed it has designed custom AI chips, reducing its dependency on Nvidia while maintaining a substantial OpenAI investment and its position as the primary cloud partner.
Pre-market trading still implies a negative opening for Microsoft. However, the price turned sharply at Altman’s and the OpenAI’s team hiring announcements.
Microsoft hiring former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman could significantly advance Microsoft's AI research and development. This also solidifies Microsoft’s leading position in the AI field. Is Microsoft the end-winner of Sam Alman being fired from OpenAI? Time will tell.