Former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman Hired by Microsoft

OpenAI fires its CEO
Sam Altman, pictured, will now join Microsoft.

The former CEO of OpenAI Sam Altman who was sensationally fired by the company he co-founded on Friday afternoon has already got a new job.

Microsoft, which is one of OpenAI’s largest investors, has hired Altman along with fellow OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman who quit in protest over his colleague’s treatment.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Altman and Brockman will lead a “new advanced AI research team” with Altman retweeting Nadella’s post adding, “The mission continues.”

Topsy-Turvy Weekend

After the shocking news of Altman’s departure came on Friday, it was reported over the weekend that there was a chance of reconciliation between the CEO and his former company.

However, the Microsoft announcement has put pay to that with Altman seemingly gone from OpenAI for good — the company he oversaw as it released groundbreaking technology in the form of ChatGPT and DALL-E.

Expanding on the announcement, Microsoft’s Nadella says that Altman will be the “CEO of this new group.”

“We’ve learned a lot over the years about how to give founders and innovators space to build independent identities and cultures within Microsoft, including GitHub, Mojang Studios, and LinkedIn, and I’m looking forward to having you do the same,” says Nadella.

The Verge notes that Microsoft only assign a CEO title to leaders of separate or big businesses such a GitHub, LinkedIn, and Activision Blizzard

Brockman took to X (formerly Twitter) to announce that a handful of OpenAI employees are coming with himself and Altman to Microsoft with more expected to join.

Meanwhile, there were more twists and turns at OpenAI: When Altman left it was announced that the interim CEO of OpenAI would be the company’s chief technology officer (CTO) Mira Murati, but that has changed since Friday too with Emmett Shear, the co-founder of Twitch, now taking the job instead.

Shear took to X to immediately criticize OpenAI’s handling of the fiasco, “It’s clear that the process and communications around Sam’s removal has been handled very badly, which has seriously damaged our trust.”

Microsoft has reportedly invested $13 billion into OpenAI with the latter’s technologies integrated into the search engine Bing and various other software.

Richard Windsor, founder of digital research company Radio Free Mobile, tells CNBC that Altman’s move could be a case of “damage control” for Microsoft.

“A large amount of that value is tied up in the founders and in the engineers that are inside the company,” Windsor says.

Since Murato was hired to be interim CEO of OpenAI and was immediately stepped down again there are rumors that she now might join Altman at Microsoft.

“If she goes off with Sam and the others to join Microsoft, what’s left of OpenAI? Arguably not much,” Windsor adds.

Image credits: The featured photo of former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was captured by Steve Jennings for TechCrunch and has been used under the CC BY 2.0 license.