It's a coup for Microsoft: The software company hires Sam Altman, the shining light par excellence in the technology industry when it comes to artificial intelligence. This constellation would have been difficult to imagine just a few days ago. It was made possible by Altman's abrupt dismissal as CEO of OpenAI, the company that catapulted itself to the forefront of AI with the launch of the ChatGPT language model a year ago.
This change in leadership was initially a shock for Microsoft as well, as the company maintains a close cooperation with OpenAI and is also the largest shareholder. He also initially tried to orchestrate Altman's comeback. But when that failed, he made the best of it and brought Altman right on board. Altman is now to build a whole new AI division for him, and CEO Satya Nadella has assured him of extensive independence. The entire tech world will be watching with excitement to see what comes out of Altman's new AI lab at Microsoft.
The value of Microsoft's investment in OpenAI is in question
It wasn't so long ago that Microsoft was said to miss out on one trend after another. There is no doubt that this cannot be said in the future field of AI. Nadella has already courageously occupied it through the association with OpenAI. With the recruitment of Altman and other senior former OpenAI employees, he is now putting the biggest exclamation point possible behind his claim to play a leading role in the market.
However, as much as Microsoft now appears to be a winner of the crisis at first glance, the company is facing some difficult questions. This is especially true when it comes to working with OpenAI. The Group has invested a lot of money in the partner and has geared almost its entire product range to this cooperation. This offers plenty of potential for conflict with Altman's new internal AI project.
What's more, the value of Microsoft's investment in OpenAI is in question. The company could be facing an exodus of its employees, with more than half of its workforce threatening to resign in a spectacular revolt on Monday. OpenAI has fallen into a state of shock and is in danger of becoming incapacitated. Competitors like Google or Meta may be happy about this, but Microsoft certainly can't be interested in it.