Microsoft's Move After OpenAI's Shift: Navigating AI Dynamics

Jessica Cutter
January 17, 2024
5 minute read
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The firing of Sam Altman exemplifies how unpredictable the market can be, as more than 700 employees threatened to leave after signing a letter yesterday, and stocks reacted to the events. Although this definitely wasn’t part of OpenAI’s plans, the company’s failures became a phenomenal opportunity for Microsoft. With stocks shifting, AI developments dashed, and an unpredictable back and forth between two tech giants, don’t miss out on a lesson on navigating the financial landscape and capitalizing off of unfolding events. 

What Happened with OpenAI? 

It seems like everything hit the fan for OpenAI in a matter of days, so clearly, the internal component of the company was struggling, but let’s make sure the order of events is clear. 

The timeline:

  • Sam Altman Fired: OpenAI’s board pushed out (polite way to say fired) Altman on Friday due to a “breakdown of communication,” causing intense and confused reactions to the reasoning.
  • Greg Brockman Follows Altman: Outraged by the board’s decision, Brockman resigned from his position to protest, further destabilizing the company. 
  • Tech Community Reacts: The tech community quickly compared the move to when Steve Jobs was fired from Apple in 1985, calling it a “reckless and irresponsible” move on behalf of the company. 
  • Microsoft Reacts: After investing $13 billion into OpenAI, Microsoft was understandably “blindsided” but then seized the opportunity to invite Altman and Brockman onto the team at Nadella. The announcement was made before the Monday market opened, boosting MSFT after a downturn over the weekend. 
  • OpenAI’s Actions: Despite investors’ and the tech communities' wishes to have Altman reinstated, OpenAI quickly hired Emmett Shear, the former CEO of Twitch, who promised to slow things down at the AI company. 
  • OpenAI Employees React: On Monday, over 740 of the 770 employees at OpenAI signed the letter demanding Sam and Greg back and a reconstituted board with Sam's allies. Noting that several employees depend on their jobs for visas but are waving the risk to support Altman. 
  • Potential Future: Altman is still pushing to return to OpenAI, but maintains options at Microsoft, all with OpenAI being pressured on every front to dissemble the board. 
  • [UPDATE] Sam Altman Set to Return: Along with the return of Altman, OpenAI revamped its board with Bret Taylor becoming the new chair. Brockman also returned along with other staff members. However, many people still have questions regarding the ouster and why it occurred in the first place.

The disorder essentially left OpenAI debilitated, with Microsoft acquiring strong talent, promising jobs to former employees, and positioning itself as the company that might acquire OpenAI, ChatGPT, and leading AI talent. 

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Why Do OpenAI’s Actions Matter?

The events at OpenAI highlight how quickly internal disagreements can lead to a company's disintegration and potential acquisition. This descent is significant for several reasons:

  • Employee Discontent: The mass exodus of employees underscores their dissatisfaction with the board's decision and loyalty to Altman and Brockman while providing an opening for significant talent to shift toward Microsoft. 
  • Company Instability: The departure of key leadership figures creates uncertainty about OpenAI's future direction and stability but solidifies the environment for Microsoft to be an unwavering leader in AI.
  • Microsoft's Strategic Acquisition: Microsoft's timely move to recruit Altman and Brockman demonstrates its ability to capitalize on unfolding events. At the same time, who knows what’s happening in OpenAI, with former board members articulating deep regret for their decision.  

How Do You Navigate Unpredictable Events? 

The tech market's unpredictable nature can topple even the most promising companies, as evidenced by OpenAI's recent turmoil. No one could have foreseen the weekend's events or Microsoft's swift response. That kind of uncertainty can lead to investor anxiety and portfolio mismanagement. 

Here’s the potential thought process of investing throughout the turmoil: Do you invest in Microsoft? Do you invest in a different tech company that might benefit? Will it be resolved quickly or over time? Will it work out in the long term? Do you follow Sam Altman’s success and invest there? Do you count on OpenAI to salvage the company? How quickly do you need to act? Are you trying to maintain gains or minimize losses? The questions could be endless, and you might not have the time to fully flush them out, which is why it’s crucial to put the data to the test. 

Why You Should Trust alphaAI! 

In the ever-evolving AI landscape, alphaAI is a trusted partner for investors seeking to navigate the unpredictable while capitalizing on emerging opportunities. With alphaAI, you gain access to our leading-edge AI investment technology. Powered by the latest in machine learning, we help investors automatically adapt to changing market conditions so you can always be optimally positioned to achieve your financial goals.


Updated 12:15 PM EST on November 22, 2023

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