HomeWinBuzzer NewsMicrosoft Steps Down from OpenAI Board, Apple Not Joining

Microsoft Steps Down from OpenAI Board, Apple Not Joining

Microsoft took the observer position after Sam Altman was fired and subsequently rehired by OpenAI last year


has ended its observer status on the OpenAI board, pointing to progress in the governance structures of the AI firm over the past eight months and expressing assurance in 's forward trajectory.

Specifics on Microsoft's Withdrawal

The observer role one the OpenAI board was initially acquired by Microsoft following the November exit and then return of former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Microsoft was instrumental in facilitating Altman's return and the reconfiguration of the board.

Currently, the board features new members such as Bret Taylor as chairman and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, alongside Adam D'Angelo, who remains from the previous board lineup. New board inductees include Instacart CEO Fidji Simo, ex-Sony Corp EVP Nicole Seligman, former Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, and ex-NSA head Paul Nakasone.

In a communication to OpenAI, Microsoft declared its immediate withdrawal from the board observer role. The tech company thanked OpenAI's leadership for their cooperation during the transitional period. They highlighted that the observer role offered valuable oversight while maintaining board autonomy. With significant progress now achieved, Microsoft believes the role is no longer necessary.

Microsoft retains a 49% stake in the for-profit OpenAI, with investments totaling nearly $13 billion. The OpenAI-Microsoft partnership has attracted scrutiny from EU antitrust regulators, with Margrethe Vestager, EU's executive vice-president for competition policy, voicing concerns about large tech firms potentially gaining control over other companies through such investments.

Clarification on Apple's Role

Contrary to previous reports, will not be taking a seat on OpenAI's board, The Financial Times has revealed. It was anticipated that Apple would assume an observer role on OpenAI's board as a part of the agreement to incorporate ChatGPT into its devices; however, this will not proceed, as stated by an individual with firsthand knowledge of the situation. Apple has chosen not to issue a statement on the matter.

An OpenAI spokesperson stated to The Verge that the company will host regular meetings with partners, including Microsoft and Apple, as well as investors like Thrive Capital and Khosla Ventures. This initiative is part of “a new approach to informing and engaging key strategic partners” led by Sarah Friar, the newly appointed chief financial officer and former CEO of Nextdoor, who joined last month.

Strategic Considerations

Post Microsoft's departure from the observer position, OpenAI doesn't intend to appoint new observers to its board, as per sources familiar with the strategy. This decision could alleviate antitrust anxieties linked to Microsoft's deep involvement with OpenAI. OpenAI acknowledged Microsoft's faith in its governance and is set to formulate new strategies for engaging key strategic partners and investors, like Microsoft and Apple.

Under CFO Sarah Friar's supervision, OpenAI is crafting an approach to keep strategic partners and investors, including Thrive Capital and Khosla Ventures, informed and engaged.

Microsoft's decision aligns with OpenAI's recent collaboration with Apple, which allows and Mac users to use Siri for queries. The AI firm continues to broaden its board, recently bringing former NSA official Paul Nakasone on board. Since the shake-ups at OpenAI last year, some key researchers, including Co-Founder Andrej Karpathy and Ilya Sutskever, have departed. Sutskever went on to establish a new AI company, Safe Superintelligence Inc (SSI), targeting AI safety enhancement.

SourceThe Verge
Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus is the founder of WinBuzzer and has been playing with Windows and technology for more than 25 years. He is holding a Master´s degree in International Economics and previously worked as Lead Windows Expert for Softonic.com.