Almost Entire OpenAI Team Contemplates Departure to Microsoft Following Sam Altman’s Removal

Technology

On Monday, over 700 out of approximately 770 employees at the AI firm signed a letter addressed to OpenAI’s board, urging their resignation.


Almost the entire workforce at OpenAI has threatened to resign and join ousted leader Sam Altman at Microsoft unless the current board steps down, casting uncertainty over the future of the high-profile artificial intelligence startup.

Over 700 of OpenAI’s roughly 770 employees signed a letter on Monday, urging the board’s resignation, citing a lack of competence, judgment, and care for the mission and employees. The letter demanded the reinstatement of Altman or hinted at a potential move to Microsoft, which reportedly assured positions for all OpenAI employees.

The upheaval follows a turbulent weekend during which the board resisted calls to reinstate Altman, resulting in the appointment of former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear as the new leader. Microsoft hired Altman and OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman to head a new in-house AI team.

The internal chaos may reshape the landscape of artificial intelligence, as OpenAI had been a central player in deploying generative AI technology. Altman’s disagreements with the board over the pace of AI development and monetization led to his termination. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff offered to employ researchers leaving OpenAI, reflecting potential talent poaching in the tech industry.

The rifts within OpenAI extend beyond strategy to Altman’s entrepreneurial ambitions, including raising funds for an AI chip startup. Altman’s departure leaves immediate unknowns, affecting potential investments, share valuations, and planned tenders. Investors considering writing down the value of their OpenAI holdings may impact the company’s ability to raise funds.

Altman’s firing surprised employees and Microsoft, with efforts to reinstate him proving unsuccessful. Shear, known for advocating a cautious approach to AI, was appointed as the interim CEO. Despite his promises to reform the leadership team and conduct an independent investigation into Altman’s termination, employees issued an ultimatum to the board, emphasizing unity and commitment to their mission

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