Microsoft CEO confident in OpenAI partnership amidst governance challenges

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, expressed his confidence in the partnership with OpenAI on Tuesday, following the temporary ousting of the startup's CEO, Sam Altman, by its non-profit board two months ago.

Publication: 16.01.2024 - 15:08
Microsoft CEO confident in OpenAI partnership amidst governance challenges
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Nadella's remarks came during a Bloomberg News event at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos.

"I'm comfortable. I have no issues with any structure," Nadella stated, addressing concerns about OpenAI's governance structure, which had disregarded investor interests during Altman's brief dismissal.

The unexpected removal of Altman in November over an alleged communication breakdown had sparked turmoil within OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. The crisis led to threats of mass resignations from employees, some considering a move to Microsoft, which has been financially supporting OpenAI with billions of dollars.

Following this upheaval, OpenAI's board, committed to the non-profit's mission of developing AI that benefits humanity, reinstated Altman shortly after his dismissal.

In the wake of these events, Microsoft has gained a non-voting observer role on OpenAI's board.

Regulatory authorities in Europe, Britain, and reportedly the United States are scrutinizing the Microsoft-OpenAI relationship. The agreement between the two entitles Microsoft to substantial portions of the startup's profits under specific conditions, according to someone familiar with the terms.

Nadella highlighted the competitive advantage of their partnership, noting that Microsoft's partial ownership of OpenAI sets their deal apart in a positive way. "Partnerships are one avenue of, in fact, having competition," he remarked.

Nadella also reflected on Microsoft's long-term investment in computing power and its early bet on OpenAI, predating the ChatGPT fame. He described these decisions as "highly risky" and not in line with "conventional wisdom."

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