Microsoft just hired the ChatGPT ex-CEO for its own AI program

ChatGPT conversation screen on a smartphone
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

Update (Nov 20, 3:30 pm ET): Most OpenAI employees have now signed a document calling for the OpenAI board to resign and the remainder of the employees to join the new AI division Microsoft is starting with Altman and Brockman. Multiple sources also say that Altman and Brockman may return to OpenAI if the board resigns, putting plans in limbo.

As the story continues to develop, we'll continue to update this news piece with the latest relevant information. The original story continues as follows:

What you need to know

  • OpenAI ex-CEO Sam Altman and ex-president Greg Brockman were just hired by Microsoft after dismissal from OpenAI over the weekend.
  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says the two will lead a new advanced AI research team at Microsoft.
  • Rumors say many other OpenAI employees could head to Microsoft after the move.
  • OpenAI runs ChatGPT, which powers Bing Chat, Google's biggest AI competition.

After a weekend of turmoil, Microsoft just scooped up OpenAI's ex-CEO Sam Altman, and the company's ex-president, Greg Brockman. Altman and Brockman will go on to lead a new advanced AI research team at Microsoft, signaling the company's interest in further investing in AI development from internal teams.

Altman was fired by the OpenAI board of trustees on Friday because "he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board," according to The Verge. The sudden move caused OpenAI President, Greg Brockman, to quit after hearing the news.

Sources say that some OpenAI members tried to hire Altman back but the Board quickly hired Emmett Shear, ex-CEO of Twitch, instead. Microsoft is currently the largest shareholder in OpenAI, investing over $13 billion in the company since 2019, according to Time, and it seems Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was more than a little concerned at the news given the lightning-fast hiring of Altman and Brockman overnight.

Microsoft is bringing more AI development in-house which could spell trouble for Google's stance as an AI leader in the future.

OpenAI's ChatGPT tech currently powers Bing Chat, and it's entirely possible that Microsoft will attempt to develop something in-house so it's not as reliant on third-party turmoil in the future.

Microsoft famously pushed Google to more publicly focus on AI earlier this year when it released Bing Chat. Google went on to launch Google Bard and formed a combined AI team called DeepMind that focuses on rapid-fire AI development and implementation into new and existing products.

We reached out to Google for comment on the news but they didn't respond in time for publishing. It's not entirely clear how this move could affect Google in the short term but there's little doubt that Microsoft's investment into AI will continue to challenge Google's stance as the industry's AI leader.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu