Over 700 of 770 OpenAI staff have signed a letter threatening to leave for Microsoft if ousted CEO Sam Altman is not reinstated.
The abrupt firing by the four-member board, citing a lack of candidness without specifying details, resulted in a whirlwind weekend of corporate maneuvering.
Mr Altman ultimately joined Microsoft to initiate a new AI project.
The staff’s letter says Microsoft has assured positions for all OpenAI employees in its new AI subsidiary.
Microsoft holds a major 49 percent stake in OpenAI after a $13 billion investment.
The upheaval has left the future of one of Silicon Valley’s fastest-growing companies uncertain, raising concerns for many startups that rely on OpenAI’s technology.
Gaurav Oberoi, founder of Lexion, a startup leveraging OpenAI for streamlining contracts, describes the situation as the “debacle of the decade.”
He said: “It’s a lesson in how to destroy a huge amount of value overnight and their own reputation.”
Emmett Shear, appointed interim CEO, announced plans to hire an independent investigator to review the events surrounding Altman’s dismissal.
Mr Shear said he would gather insights from employees, partners, and investors to rebuild the company’s leadership.
However, the situation remains tense, with key employees, including OpenAI President Greg Brockman, already joining Microsoft’s new AI subsidiary.
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Altman co-founder: “I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions”
Ilya Sutskever, a co-founder of OpenAI and chief scientist who initially supported Altman’s ousting, said later: “I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions.”
The upheavals at OpenAI pose a significant challenge to developing the next generation of AI technologies.
It would impact businesses relying on OpenAI’s advanced language models.
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Mr Altman attempted to conciliate OpenAI customers by saying he and Mr. Nadella prioritize ensuring the continued prosperity of OpenAI.
He wrote on X: “We are committed to fully providing continuity of operations to our partners and customers.
“We are all going to work together some way or other, and I’m so excited. One team, one mission.”