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Microsoft Stock Risks Further Decline After OpenAI Sacks Sam Altman

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) saw its stock price plunge by more than 5% on Friday, after the news broke that OpenAI, the artificial intelligence research company backed by Microsoft, had fired its CEO Sam Altman. Altman, who co-founded OpenAI in 2015 with a group of prominent tech entrepreneurs and investors, including Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, was ousted by the board of directors following a series of disagreements over the direction and vision of the company.

Sam Altman | The Business Anecdote

OpenAI is widely regarded as one of the leading organizations in the field of artificial intelligence, especially in the areas of natural language processing and computer vision. The company is behind some of the most popular and influential AI systems in the world, such as ChatGPT, a conversational agent that can generate realistic and coherent text responses, and DALL-E, an image generator that can create photorealistic images from text prompts. Microsoft has been a major supporter and partner of OpenAI since 2019, when it announced a $1 billion investment in the company and a multi-year exclusive cloud computing deal. Microsoft also integrated some of OpenAI's technologies into its own products and services, such as Azure, Bing, and GitHub.

However, the relationship between Microsoft and OpenAI has reportedly soured in recent months, as Altman pursued a more aggressive and ambitious strategy for the company, which involved developing and deploying a general artificial intelligence system that could surpass human intelligence and capabilities. Altman also clashed with some of the board members and senior researchers at OpenAI over the ethical and social implications of such a project, as well as the governance and ownership structure of the company.

According to sources familiar with the matter, Altman was dismissed by the board on Thursday, after a heated meeting that lasted for several hours. The board cited a lack of trust and alignment with Altman, as well as concerns over his management style and decision-making process. The board also accused Altman of violating some of the core principles and values of OpenAI, such as transparency, collaboration, and safety.

The board appointed Greg Brockman, the co-founder and chief technology officer of OpenAI, as the interim CEO, while launching a search for a permanent replacement. Brockman, who has been with OpenAI since its inception, is expected to steer the company in a more moderate and cautious direction, focusing on improving the existing AI systems and ensuring their alignment with human values and interests.

The news of Altman's departure sent shockwaves across the tech industry and the AI community, as many expressed their surprise and disappointment over the decision. Altman, who is also a former president of Y Combinator, one of the most influential startup accelerators in Silicon Valley, is widely respected and admired for his vision and leadership in the field of artificial intelligence. He is also credited with transforming OpenAI from a small research lab into a global powerhouse, attracting some of the best talent and funding in the industry.

Some of Altman's supporters and allies, including Musk and Thiel, have publicly expressed their solidarity and appreciation for him, and hinted at the possibility of collaborating with him on new ventures in the future. Altman himself has not commented on the situation, but has posted a cryptic tweet that read: "The future is still ours to create."

The impact of Altman's exit on Microsoft's stock price reflects the importance and value of OpenAI for the tech giant, as well as the uncertainty and risk that the leadership change poses for the future of the company and the field of artificial intelligence. Analysts and investors are closely watching how the situation unfolds, and how it affects the strategic partnership and collaboration between Microsoft and OpenAI..



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