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OpenAI President Greg Brockman resigns; Microsoft remains committed to OpenAI partnership

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The fallout from Friday's abrupt departure (and now confirmed as a firing) of OpenAI's CEO and co-founder Sam Altman continues. Greg Brockman, who OpenAI stated was "stepping down as chairman of the board" has announced his resignation as President of the company.

In an X (formerly Twitter) post, Brockman reposted a message he sent to OpenAI employees. He stated that he was "super proud of what we've all built together since starting in my apartment 8 years ago". However, he added, "based on today's news, i quit."

Brockman posted a follow-up message on X late on Friday, stating that both Altman and himself "are shocked and saddened by what the board did today", adding, "We too are still trying to figure out exactly what happened."

Brockman also posted a timeline of the events he claims happened before Friday's firing of Altman, He stated that Altman received a message from OpenAI chief scientist and board member Ilya Sutskever on Thursday night to chat on Friday.

On Friday, Brockman claimed that Altman joined a Google Meet session with most of the board members, except for himself, and was told he was being fired. Brockman said he got his own message from Sutskever on Friday and was later told of Altman's firing and that he was being removed from the board.

Meanwhile, Altman has posted a couple of follow-up posts on X. One of them hinted he can say very little about his firing from the company, stating, "if i start going off, the openai board should go after me for the full value of my shares."

In OpenAI's message announcing Altman's departure, the company claimed that "he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities."

Bloomberg (via Yahoo) reported, via an unnamed source, that Altman previously had disagreements with OpenAI's board in general, and with Sutskever in particular, over several issues related to the company's generative AI products like ChatGPT. It stated:

The debates included differences of opinion on AI safety, the speed of development of the technology and the commercialization of the company, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

The report also claims Altman was trying to raise money from other investors to create new startup businesses. Those startups would reportedly concentrate on developing AI-based hardware products.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that OpenAI's new interim CEO Mira Murati sent a memo to the company's employees, claiming she was “honored and humbled” to take over the role of leading the company after previously serving as its chief technology officer.

Murati wrote she had also spoken to Microsoft's leadership, including its CEO Satya Nadella, on Friday, and said they "expressed their unwavering support" to OpenAI. Microsoft has invested billions in the company and has used ChatGPT and other products to help create its own AI services. Microsoft was reportedly told of Altman's firing just before the news went public.

In a blog entry posted late on Friday, Nadella wrote:

We have a long-term agreement with OpenAI with full access to everything we need to deliver on our innovation agenda and an exciting product roadmap; and remain committed to our partnership, and to Mira and the team. Together, we will continue to deliver the meaningful benefits of this technology to the world.

It will be interesting to see what Altman and Brockman do next in the AI space and how OpenAI might react to it.

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