OpenAI future in jeopardy

A complete meltdown at the world’s leading AI company continues to provide a steady stream of watercooler talking points and cast doubt on the future of the company

Driving the news: By late last night, around 700 of OpenAI's 770 employees had signed a letter calling for Sam Altman's reinstatement as CEO — including board member Ilya Sutskever, one of the board members who initially voted to fire Altman, according to people who have seen the letter.

  • Sutskever posted on X (formerly Twitter) that "I deeply regret my participation in the board's actions."

Zoom out: Microsoft, which is OpenAI’s largest investor, is making the best of the situation by announcing it would hire Altman and former president Greg Brockman to lead a new AI research team.

  • But Altman could still return to OpenAI, according to some reports, if the board members who ousted him are fired.
  • Rivals, meanwhile, are shooting their shot: Yesterday, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff asked OpenAI researchers to send him their CVs and offered to match their salaries.

Why it matters: It's still not clear how this will shake out, but if the vast majority of OpenAI's staff decamp for Microsoft (or elsewhere), the AI shop that had been at the leading edge of deep learning could find itself in deep trouble. —SB