Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella believes that OpenAI should have consulted with Microsoft before firing former CEO Sam Altman. He made this statement in an interview with Kara Swisher’s podcast, saying that it would have been the “very least” the board could have done given their investment in the company and the fact that Microsoft has used OpenAI’s technology to power their Bing search engine, while OpenAI uses Microsoft’s Azure cloud servers.
Nadella also expressed his disappointment in the way Altman was removed from his position without prior consultation, saying that it is not even about the money and capital. He believes that someone should have thought about why Altman chose Microsoft twice and why he was let go. As a partner, Nadella thinks that being consulted on big decisions is necessary.
Last Friday, OpenAI abruptly announced Altman’s firing as CEO. The board said in a statement that Altman “was not consistently candid in his communications” with them but did not give further details. This led to a weekend of chaos, ending with the appointment of former Twitch chief Emmett Shear as OpenAI’s new interim CEO. On Monday, Nadella announced that he had hired Altman and former OpenAI president Greg Brockman to head Microsoft’s new advanced AI research team. However, it seems that the drama isn’t over yet as nearly all of OpenAI’s staff are threatening to quit unless the board resigns and Altman returns as CEO.
Nadella seems to be prepared for this possibility by stating that they will definitely have a place for all AI talent to come here and move forward on the mission, and they will be supportive of whoever remains even at OpenAI or whatever. Representatives for Microsoft and OpenAI did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.
In conclusion, Satya Nadella believes that consulting with Microsoft before removing Sam Altman as CEO would have been the very least the board could have done given their investment in the company and partnership between both companies using each other’s technology.