Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has spoken out about OpenAI’s decision to fire former CEO Sam Altman, saying that the company should have consulted with Microsoft before making such a move. According to Nadella, Microsoft only learned of Altman’s removal after OpenAI went public with the announcement.
Nadella believes that OpenAI’s success is deeply intertwined with Microsoft’s own technology and partnership with the company. He explained that OpenAI has used Microsoft’s Azure cloud servers and its technology, such as ChatGPT, is used to power Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Therefore, he feels that as a partner, it would have been the “very least” that the board could have done to consult with Microsoft before removing Altman as CEO.
OpenAI announced Altman’s firing last Friday and said in a statement that he was not consistently candid in his communications with them. However, they did not provide any further details on why he was removed from his position. This led to chaos over the weekend, culminating in the appointment of former Twitch chief Emmett Shear as OpenAI’s new interim CEO on Monday.
Despite this setback, Nadella announced on Monday that he had hired both Altman and former OpenAI president Greg Brockman to head Microsoft’s new advanced AI research team. However, it seems like the drama isn’t over yet as nearly all of OpenAI’s staff have threatened to quit unless the board resigns and Altman returns as CEO.
Nadella remains committed to supporting whoever remains at OpenAI or whatever company may emerge from this situation. He told Kara Swisher on her podcast: “We will definitely have a place for all AI talent to come here and move forward on the mission, and we will be supportive of whoever remains even at OpenAI or whatever.”