OpenAI employees threaten to resign and move to Microsoft in large numbers
More than 700 employees of the startup OpenAI intend to join the company’s former CEO and co-founder Sam Altman at Microsoft, if the company’s new management does not return Altman to the position from which he was recently fired. In a letter addressed to the new management, OpenAI employees threaten to resign and claim that “Microsoft guarantees that there are jobs for all of them if they decide to join it.”
However, with the new management already saying it’s staying on and naming a new CEO, it looks like Microsoft may have already found several hundred new hires, assuming the assurances are true.
The OpenAI employees who signed the letter accuse the company’s management of endangering their work and “undermining their mission and the company.” They also reject the idea that OpenAI has advanced too quickly without concern for security.
„Our work on AI security and governance is shaping global norms“, they state.
As the . portal writes, there are currently 700 signatories, and the workers are still signing the letter. The warning, however, appears to have been drafted before the news that new management had been installed, suggesting that it had been in circulation since Altman was ousted. It also means that it may be too late for OpenAI’s new management to act on employee demands, if there is any option at all.
OpenAI Chief Scientist Ilija Sutskever, who allegedly led the effort to replace Altman, posted on his Twitter (X) account that he was sorry for the chaos within the company. However, it is strange that his name is also on the list of those threatening to resign.
Microsoft has now formed a separate “Advanced AI Research Team” to hire a number of former OpenAI employees, and Altman has been appointed to lead the team. It’s an unusual move for Microsoft, as the company typically only uses the CEO title for leaders of large divisions like Microsoft Gaming or acquired companies like LinkedIn and GitHub. OpenAI employees have made it clear that Microsoft is treating this as a major acquisition, providing them with open positions to join Altman and his new Microsoft team.
Altman’s hiring came just hours after negotiations with OpenAI management failed to reinstate him as CEO over the weekend. Instead, Twitch’s former CEO and co-founder Emmett Shear has been appointed as the new interim CEO of OpenAI. He will replace Mira Murati, who was also appointed as interim CEO of the firm after the sudden dismissal of Altman. By the way, Murati is now also at the top of the list of OpenAI employees threatening to move to Microsoft.
At the moment, it is not clear who is actually behind the events in OpenAI and whether it happened because of the interests of some other technology companies. It should also be noted that the new Microsoft AI team headed by Altman was created just a week after the giant announced its own AI chips that will be used to train large language models.
Some insider reports say Altman has reportedly pitched a new, separate startup building custom AI chips to investors, The New York Times reported. The next period will show whether OpenAI will manage to cope with the challenges it faces, which will of course affect the development and use of one of the most popular artificial intelligence chatbots – ChatGPT.