What did Sam Altman do when he returned to Microsoft?

Former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman will run an independent AI team within Microsoft, but may see this as a stepping stone to return to his old company.

In a message welcoming Altman to Microsoft, CEO Satya Nadella said the OpenAI co-founder will be the CEO of a newly formed advanced AI group, tasked with "setting a new pace for innovation." ".

In terms of operating models, Nadella mentioned some examples like GitHub, Mojang Studios and LinkedIn and said Altman could do the same. These are companies that Microsoft has acquired, but develop independently under its own brand, using resources from Microsoft and contributing to the company's ecosystem.

"Over the years, we've learned a lot about how to give founders and innovators the space to build an independent identity and culture within Microsoft," Nadella said. In a previous post, he said he would provide Altman's team with the necessary resources for its success.

"It's going to build something new," said Greg Brockman , former president of OpenAI who joined Microsoft with Sam Altman. Both men affirmed that "the mission will continue".

Sam Altman and Satya Nadella at an OpenAI event in June. Photo: CNBC

While working at OpenAI, Sam Altman is said to have had many ideas for developing new AI products, in addition to large language models. Sources from The Information said Altman once met with former Apple design director Jony Ive to discuss building a hardware device deeply integrated with AI. The meeting was attended by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.

In addition, the source said Altman has discussed with semiconductor companies, including chip designer ARM, about creating new AI chips with greater power and more power savings. The product will help reduce the cost of large language model (LLM) training, but will likely take years to complete. Altman is said to have sought to raise tens of billions of dollars from funds in the Middle East to compete with Nvidia.

Another possibility is that Microsoft could be a stepping stone for Altman to return to OpenAI. According to The Verge 's sources , Sam Altman and Greg Brockman are "still willing to return to OpenAI" if the group of people who fired him are removed. Microsoft's recruitment decision in the early morning of November 20 is said to be a way to hold on to key personnel to immediately resolve the crisis before the stock market opens on Monday.

Microsoft did not comment on the above issue.

Previously, another source also said that a condition for Altman's return was to dissolve the board of directors but this may not have been approved. Meanwhile, right after the news that Sam Altman joined Microsoft, hundreds of OpenAI employees signed an open letter, declaring their resignation and following the former CEO to join Microsoft, unless the company's board of directors resigns.

On his personal page, Altman said his and Satya Nadella's top priority is to ensure OpenAI continues to operate. "We're all going to work together one way or another, and I'm excited. One team, one mission," he said.

This quote is said to be directed towards OpenAI employees, as well as chief scientist Ilya Sutskever , who is said to be behind the CEO's ouster. After Altman joined Microsoft, Sutskever said he regretted it and "will do everything possible to reunite the company".

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