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Microsoft Taps Former OpenAI Chief Executive Sam Altman to Lead Advanced AI Research

Through a Monday, November 20 post on X (formerly Twitter) by its chief executive Satya Nadella, Microsoft Corp confirmed pouncing on the former OpenAI boss alongside Greg Brockman to steer its artificial intelligence research team. The recruitment of the duo by the multinational comes days after their forced departure from OpenAI.

AI Space Witnesses Weekend Drama of Altman Ouster From OpenAI

Altman and Brockman left OpenAI following the ouster by the board from the company the pair co-founded. The board accused the duo of inefficient communication despite Altman-stewardship delivering the popular ChatGPT model regarded as a dominant product across the artificial intelligence (AI) space. 

Nadella hailed the duo alongside their colleagues who would join Microsoft Corp in leading its newly established advanced AI research unit. The Microsoft chief acknowledged the urgency to furnish the newly assembled team with the resources necessary to realize success.

Altman confirmed joining Microsoft by retweeting Nadella’s post on Monday, November 20, indicating ‘The mission continues.’ The news of Altman joining Microsoft alongside Brockman triggered a market reaction, with the share price rallying 1.7% in pre-market trading. It realized a bounce back following its similar fall on Friday, November 17, when the OpenAI board announced Altman’s firing.


Microsoft’s swift reaction mirrors the dramatic weekend when Altman was ousted from the Microsoft-backed OpenAI. The firing triggered a meltdown in Worldcoin native tokens (WLD) with calls from OpenAI investors for the duo’s reinstatement. Interestingly, Altman and Brockman featured in subsequent talks to rejoin the San Francisco-headquartered AI giant that turned futile late on Sunday. 

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Parties privy to the matter attributed Altman’s ouster to the emergence of concerns regarding commitment to the California-based firm mission of guaranteeing safe and beneficial AI. The individual aware of the board’s decision illustrated the oversight body alleged the impossibility of overseeing the OpenAI co-founder. 

The anonymous individual indicated that the board cited an inability to believe the briefs conveyed by Altman. The sudden firing prompted several employees to declare their support for Altman. Microsoft Corp would lead other investors, including Thrive Capital and Khosla Ventures, to explore mechanisms to reinstate Altman to the role.

Former Twitch Chief Executive Replaces Altman at OpenAI

Several employees oriented to AI safety expressed pleasure in the board’s move to replace Altman with OpenAI’s chief technical executive, Mira Murati, assuming the CEO role in an interim capacity. However, the board has since unveiled former Twitch chief Emmett Shear to lead OpenAI.

Shear, who co-founded Twitch as a video streaming service platform, confirmed acceptance of the role to lead OpenAI, labeling it among the most essential AI companies. The former Twitch chief had earlier advocated slowing the AI rollout.

Shear confided that he weighed the reasons for the change before accepting the appointment. He dismissed the removal of Altman as caused by disagreement over safety. As such, he hailed the board’s support towards commercializing OpenAI models he labeled as awesome. 

The weekend drama culminated in Nadella unveiling Altman and Brockman as newly recruited just hours within the Shear’s appointment. Nadella acknowledged that Microsoft is the core backer of OpenAI and would devote itself to the partnership. 

Microsoft Moves Swiftly to Tap Altman and Brockman Expertise

Nadella restated that Microsoft would retain confidence in its product roadmap by leveraging its innovation capability. He affirmed his aspiration to know Shear alongside the new leadership team expected to steer OpenAI. 

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The swift recruitment of Altman and Brockman casts the important role that the Microsoft chief has repeatedly undertaken in AI tools development and commercial rollout. Trying Altman and Brockman within its ranks is set to give Microsoft an upper hand in AI as 2023 turned the breakthrough year for AI technology.

Earlier in November, Altman revealed plans to raise additional investment from the Seattle-based tech giant, identifying Microsoft as a great partner. Consequently, the hiring of Altman alongside fellow OpenAI co-founder Brockman grants Microsoft a dedicated duo with a devoted following from their staff.

Microsoft is set to win the pursuit of talented AI researchers and engineers exiting OpenAI. In particular, several employees expressed disappointment in the course assumed by OpenAI during the weekend. Some announced immediate plans to exit the company following the forced exit of Altman.

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Stephen Causby

Stephen Causby is an experienced crypto journalist who writes for Tokenhell. He is passionate for coverage in crypto news, blockchain, DeFi, and NFT.

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