Microsoft Corp. said that Sam Altman will lead the software developer’s new in-house artificial intelligence team after the OpenAI co-founder was ousted from his startup last week, a bid to shore up Microsoft’s AI plans and reassure investors.
Greg Brockman, an OpenAI board member and co-founder who also left the company last week, will join Altman and Microsoft will “move quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success,” the Redmond, Washington-based company’s Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella said in a post on LinkedIn.
In another post on X, formerly Twitter, Nadella said Altman will serve as CEO of the new in-house group.
I’m super excited to have you join as CEO of this new group, Sam, setting a new pace for innovation. 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,…
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) November 20, 2023
The move, at midnight local time on Sunday, was the latest in a dramatic three days for Microsoft and OpenAI’s relationship, a backup plan for Nadella after his efforts to restore Altman and Brockman to OpenAI were thwarted.
The OpenAI board named former Twitch chief Emmett Shear as CEO. Nadella wrote that Microsoft looks forward to getting to know Shear and working with him.
“We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI and have confidence in our product roadmap, our ability to continue to innovate with everything we announced at Microsoft Ignite, and in continuing to support our customers and partners,” Nadella said on LinkedIn.
The Microsoft chief has been revamping his company’s entire product lineup around OpenAI’s technology and has put $13 billion into the startup, making Microsoft by far its biggest shareholder with a roughly 49% stake.
Still, Microsoft was shocked Friday when it received just a few minutes notice that the board had ousted Altman.
The news sent Microsoft shares down amid concern that upheaval at OpenAI could adversely impact Microsoft’s entire AI strategy. They reversed course and rose as much as 2.7% in premarket trading Monday after Nadella’s announcement.