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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is dodging questions on if Sam Altman might return to OpenAI

satya nadella at bloomberg

In case you are wondering about the current status of OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, everything is still up in the air. Sam Altman was fired as its CEO on Friday by its board members, then he tried over the weekend to get brought back to no avail. Microsoft hired him and several other OpenAI employees to join that company to form a new AI team, but then most of OpenAI's employees signed a letter, demanding the board bring Altman back, or they might resign.

Monday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella decided to make himself open to questions from business media outlets. In a video interview with Bloomberg, reporter Emily Chang asked Nadella directly if Altman told him he wanted to return to OpenAI, but he did not give a direct answer:

We really want to partner with OpenAI and we want to partner with Sam. And so In respect of where Sam is, he is working with Microsoft, and that is the case on Friday and that is the case today, and I absolutely believe that will be the case tomorrow.

When asked in an interview with CNBC whether it was clear or not if Altman was going back to OpenAI and if all those employees might join him or join Microsoft, Nadella also punted on that subject:

That is for, you know, OpenAI board and management and the employees to choose. I think at this point for me, I just want in this moment, what is it that I care about? I care about just making sure that we can continue to innovate and, as I said, I feel very, very confident, quite frankly, Microsoft has all the capability to just do that on our own. But we chose to explicitly partner with OpenAI and we want to continue to do so and obviously that depends on the people of OpenAI and staying there or coming to Microsoft so I'm open to both options.

Nadella also stated in the Bloomberg interview he was not aware of any wrongdoing by Altman that would have caused the OpenAI board to fire him on Friday.

The latest on this situation comes from Bloomberg, which reports that in a memo sent to OpenAI employees, the company's global affairs VP Anna Makanju stated that the remaining board members, and its current interim CEO Emmett Shear are still in some kind of talks with Altman. Those talks are supposed to continue later today.

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