Categories: Technology
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2023-12-02 7:33 AM

AI Turmoil Unleashed: Inside OpenAI’s Leadership Clash and Microsoft’s Strategic Chess Move

  • Altman's Ouster: OpenAI board votes to remove CEO Sam Altman, citing concerns over AI risks and transparency issues.
  • Microsoft's Surprise: Microsoft caught off guard as OpenAI board excludes them from the decision-making process, causing confusion.
  • Microsoft's Response: Microsoft reacts strategically, exploring options to support Altman, reinstate him, and eventually hiring Altman to rebuild within Microsoft.
By Lethabo Ntsoane

In a shocking turn of events, recent reports from The New Yorker shed light on a tumultuous conflict within OpenAI’s leadership, involving CEO Sam Altman and the company’s board. As details continue to surface, a narrative emerges of strategic decisions, surprising alliances, and a rift with technology giant Microsoft.

Board’s Decision to Oust Sam Altman:

The New Yorker’s investigation reveals that OpenAI’s board, in a controversial move, initially voted to expel Sam Altman as CEO. The decision, seemingly rooted in a debate over the risks of artificial intelligence (AI) and concerns about Altman’s transparency, was a startling development for the AI community.

Microsoft’s Unanticipated Exclusion:

What makes this saga even more intriguing is the alleged deliberate exclusion of Microsoft from the decision-making process. The board, believing that Microsoft would support their move, blindsided the tech giant, possibly to prevent Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella from warning Altman about the impending ousting.

Microsoft’s Stance:

Contrary to the board’s assumptions, Microsoft, a major investor in OpenAI, was caught off guard. The company, known for its cautious approach to AI, had established a responsible AI division and had expressed concerns about the dangers of the technology. However, Microsoft had also swiftly integrated OpenAI’s powerful language model, GPT, into its products, showcasing a keen interest in AI’s potential.

Perplexity at Microsoft:

The New Yorker report suggests that many within Microsoft found the OpenAI board’s decision “mind-bogglingly stupid.” This sentiment was fueled by the belief that the decision could potentially harm ChatGPT, the innovative language model developed by OpenAI.

Microsoft’s Three-Pronged Strategy:

In response to the crisis, Microsoft devised three strategic plans:

  1. Support for OpenAI CTO Mira Murati: Microsoft initially aimed to back OpenAI CTO Mira Murati, who had been appointed as the temporary CEO. The goal was to persuade the leadership to either reverse the decision or provide a clear explanation for the unexpected move.
  2. Influence as the Largest Investor: Leveraging its position as the largest investor in OpenAI, Microsoft explored the option of reinstating Sam Altman to his CEO role, recognizing the importance of stability in OpenAI’s leadership.
  3. Integration and Rebuilding: Ultimately, Microsoft opted for a bold move by hiring Altman and any others willing to join him, forming a team within Microsoft to rebuild and continue their work in the field of AI.


The unfolding drama concluded with Altman’s return to OpenAI, and Microsoft taking a seat on the OpenAI board as an observer. Despite these developments, the precise reasons behind Altman’s initial removal remain shrouded in mystery.


The OpenAI leadership saga, with its twists and turns, highlights the complexity of the AI industry and the strategic decisions made behind closed doors. As OpenAI and Microsoft navigate this uncharted territory, the repercussions of these events could have far-reaching implications for the future of AI development and collaboration.

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Lethabo Ntsoane

Lethabo Ntsoane holds a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of South Africa. He is a Financial Product commentator at Rateweb. He is an expect financial product analyst with years of experience in reviewing products and offering commentary. Lethabo majors in financial news, reviews and financial tips. He can be contacted: Email: Twitter: @NtsoaneLethabo