Microsoft Taps Sam Altman as Former OpenAI CEO, Greg Brockman to Head New AI Research Team

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Microsoft has made significant moves in the AI industry by hiring former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman. Altman’s departure from OpenAI was marked by the board’s loss of confidence in his leadership abilities, leading to negotiations over the weekend for a potential return to OpenAI. However, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that both Altman and Brockman would be heading Microsoft’s new advanced AI research team.

Nadella expressed enthusiasm about Altman and Brockman’s inclusion, stating, “We’re extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team.” He also pledged to provide the necessary resources for their success.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Altman confirmed his move to Microsoft by reposting Nadella’s announcement with the message “the mission continues.” Nadella hinted at Altman’s role, mentioning Microsoft’s approach to giving founders and innovators space to build independent identities within the company.

Brockman disclosed that the new advanced AI research team at Microsoft would include key OpenAI talent. Jakub Pachocki, director of research at OpenAI, will hold an unnamed leadership position in Microsoft’s advanced AI research team. OpenAI research scientist Szymon Sidor and head of preparedness Aleksander Madry are also set to take leadership positions at Microsoft.

Altman’s hiring came after unsuccessful negotiations with OpenAI’s board to reinstate him as CEO. Emmett Shear, former Twitch CEO and co-founder, has been appointed interim CEO. Altman had been negotiating his return but faced resistance from OpenAI’s board.

Reports suggest that Altman had been pitching a separate startup named “Tigris” to build custom AI Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) chips, challenging Nvidia. Microsoft’s new advanced AI research team, led by Altman and Brockman, coincides with Microsoft’s recent announcement of a custom AI chip designed for training large language models, aiming to reduce reliance on Nvidia.

Despite the leadership changes at OpenAI, Microsoft maintains a substantial investment in the organization, estimated at around $10 billion. Microsoft remains the exclusive cloud partner for OpenAI, powering all OpenAI workloads across products, API services, and research. Nadella affirmed Microsoft’s commitment to the partnership and expressed confidence in the collaboration’s future success.

As the article is continually updated, it includes additional details from Satya Nadella on Altman’s hiring and more information on Microsoft’s new AI team, along with confirmation of OpenAI’s new CEO, Emmett Shear.

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