Microsoft said early Monday morning that Sam Altman will lead the company’s new in-house artificial intelligence (AI) team after the OpenAI co-founder was ousted from his startup on Friday.
Greg Brockman -- the former OpenAI president, board member and co-founder who also left the company last week -- will also join Microsoft to work with Altman.
Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella explained in a post on LinkedIn that despite the appointment of Altman and Brockman, the company remains committed to its partnership with OpenAI and has confidence in its product roadmap and ability to continue to innovate with all the new products recently announced at Microsoft Ignite.
Nadella also announced in another post on X that Altman will serve as CEO of the new in-house group, working with Brockman.
“I’m super excited to have you join as CEO of this new group, Sam, setting a new pace for innovation,” Nadella wrote. “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.”
Brockman responded to Nadella’s post about the new division, saying the team will “build something new” and “incredible.”
It’s not clear how many former OpenAI employees may join Microsoft, but Brockman in the X post tagged developers and researchers Jakub Pachocki, Szymon Sidor, and Aleksander Madry.
The advertising industry has embraced OpenAI, integrating the company's technology into every type of platform from ad serving to creative.
It's not clear how the shakeup will influence the future of how agencies and brands integrate and use the company's GPT-4 services.
Altman was ousted by the OpenAI board on Friday. The weekend proved tumultuous as Microsoft and other OpenAI investors attempted to have Altman reinstated.
The news took a dramatic turn on Monday morning with Nadella’s announcements, as the OpenAI board named former Twitch chief Emmett Shear to the position of CEO. Nadella wrote that Microsoft looks forward to getting to know Shear and working with him.
Earlier this year, Shear stepped down as CEO of the gaming site Twitch, owned by Amazon, which was originally called Justin.tv in 2006. The company was renamed in 2011.
Shear “won over directors at OpenAI because of his past recognition of the existential threats that AI presented,” Bloomberg reports, citing a person familiar with the matter.
The computer scientist spent more than a decade building Twitch into one of the world’s most successful video platforms.
He was part of the initial startup accelerator Y Combinator along with Altman, and known as an outspoken advocate of safety in AI development.
On Monday, Shear shared plans with Reuters on the next steps at OpenAI, saying he would look to reform the management team and hire an independent investigator to look into the situation with Altman, whose dismissal reportedly was over a breakdown of communications with the OpenAI board.
This story has been updated.