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Ex-OpenAI CEO Sam Altman joins Microsoft after company ousting

Altman and OpenAI had an eventful weekend that's left the company in mild disarray and Altman at Microsoft to head up a new AI research team.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

November 20, 2023

1 Min Read
Former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2019.
Image via TechCrunch

Over the weekend, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was suddenly ousted from his position and has since jumped over to Microsoft. His abrupt leave from the generative AI company was the start to a tumultuous series of events that throws the future of OpenAI into question. 

This past Friday, November 17, Altman was fired by the company board without any prior notice. The board alleged that Altman (who became its CEO in 2019) "was not consistently candid in his communications with the board. The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI."

Having been poached by Microsoft, Altman and company co-founder Greg Brockman are now leading a new AI research team for the Xbox maker. Earlier this month, Microsoft partnered with AI developer Inworld to create a generative AI tool that would aid its first-party game developers in quest and narrative design. 

The eventual aim is to "empower" all developers with this tool, and one can reason Altman and Brockman's team will help with that endeavor.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella acknowledged it would continue to work with OpenAI, while also saying his company would "move quickly to provide [Altman and Brockman's] team with the resources needed for their success."

Altman's removal was swiftly criticized by OpenAI staff, some of whom recently released their own statement calling on the board to resign and threatening to join Microsoft themselves. The board reportedly asked him to return to his position over the weekend, but those talks fell through when the four-person team refused to resign.

OpenAI's new CEO is Emmett Shear, who co-founded Twitch. Shear departed the livestreaming company earlier this year after several as its CEO for over a decade. He takes over as interim CEO from Mira Murati, who held the position as interim CEO for about two days.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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