As you know, Sam Altman was fired from OpenAI on Friday after the company’s board stated that they “no longer have confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”
And now, in a completely unexpected turn of events, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has announced that both Sam Altman and Greg Brockman have been hired to lead Microsoft’s new advanced AI research team.
“We are thrilled to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, along with their colleagues, will join Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team,” says Nadella. “We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources they need for their success.”
A star signing for a company poised to conquer AI
In a Twitter post, Sam Altman acknowledged joining Microsoft by retweeting Nadella’s message “the mission continues.” Nadella responded, hinting at how he perceives Altman’s role at Microsoft.
Altman’s hiring comes just hours after negotiations with OpenAI’s board failed to bring him back as CEO of OpenAI.
Instead, the former CEO and co-founder of Twitch, Emmett Shear, has been named interim CEO. He will take over from Mira Murati, who was appointed interim CEO of OpenAI following Altman’s surprising dismissal on Friday.
Sam Altman had been negotiating his return as CEO of OpenAI, but the four-person OpenAI board refused to resign and let him return, according to multiple sources who spoke with The Verge.
According to The New York Times, he had recently been pitching investors on an independent company to create custom artificial intelligence tensor processing unit (TPU) chips that would rival Nvidia’s.
The TPU project, codenamed “Tigris,” attracted several major venture capital firms and even piqued Microsoft’s interest.
Microsoft has now established a new advanced AI research team led by Altman and Brockman. The news comes a week after Microsoft announced that it has built its own customized AI chip that can be used to train large language models, thus avoiding costly dependence on Nvidia.
Microsoft has also built its own Arm-based CPU for cloud workloads. Both custom silicon chips are designed to power their Azure data centers.
Altman and OpenAI have been collaborating with Microsoft to refine and test the Maia AI chip. Microsoft was quick to downplay the chip’s impact on its close collaboration with Nvidia, but the Maia GPU is part of a series, and the company is already working on a second generation.