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Like Microsoft, Apple secures coveted OpenAI board observer seat

The OpenAI logo on glass windows

Following last year's boardroom drama, OpenAI formed a new board, including Bret Taylor (Chair), Larry Summers, and Adam D'Angelo. Recognizing Microsoft's importance, OpenAI also included Microsoft as a non-voting observer. Sam Altman, OpenAI CEO, wrote the following in his blog post announcing the revamped OpenAI board.

"Satya, Kevin, Amy, and Brad have been incredible partners throughout this process, always prioritizing the right things. They've supported us and were prepared to welcome us entirely if we couldn't achieve our primary goal. We clearly made the right choice partnering with Microsoft, and I'm excited that our new board will include them as a non-voting observer."

Today, Bloomberg reported that Apple will also receive a similar non-voting observer board seat at OpenAI, matching Microsoft's influence. According to the report, Apple has nominated Phil Schiller, an Apple Fellow, to join OpenAI's board. The move follows Apple’s announcement last month that it would integrate OpenAI's ChatGPT in iOS, macOS and iPadOS.

It is important to note that Microsoft's partnership with OpenAI should fundamentally be different from Apple's. Microsoft isn't just an investor in OpenAI; it's the exclusive infrastructure partner. OpenAI relies entirely on Microsoft to train its large AI models. Microsoft is also one of OpenAI's largest customers, integrating OpenAI's AI models across its products and services, including Windows, Edge, Office apps and services, Teams, Bing, and more. In fact, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the following last year:

We were very confident in our own ability. We have all the IP rights and all the capability. I mean, look, if tomorrow OpenAI disappeared, I don’t want any customer of ours to be worried about it, quite honestly, because we have all of the rights to continue the innovation, not just to serve the products. But we can go and just do what we were doing in partnership, ourselves, and so we have the people, we have the compute, we have the data, we have everything.

Microsoft's investment in OpenAI extends beyond monetary value and a board seat; it's a strategic alliance aimed at shaping the future of AI together. This comprehensive partnership differentiates Microsoft from Apple, solidifying its unique position in the evolving landscape of artificial intelligence.

Source: Bloomberg

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