Microsoft shares hit an all-time high yesterday after hiring the co-founders of OpenAI to lead its artificial intelligence team.
The tech giant, which owns about 49 percent of OpenAI, hired Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, days after they left the company behind ChatGPT.
San Francisco-based OpenAI ousted Altman before Brockman resigned.
Their appointments sent Microsoft shares up more than 2 percent to an all-time high near $380, valuing it at 2.2 trillion pounds.
The rally follows a tumultuous weekend for OpenAI’s board, which dramatically fired Altman as CEO on Friday night over concerns about his leadership.
Hired: Microsoft, which owns about 49% of OpenAI, hired Sam Altman (pictured) and Greg Brockman, days after they left the company behind ChatGPT.
This shocked the industry and sparked a huge backlash from staff and shareholders, including Microsoft, which first invested in the group in 2019. Brockman said on Saturday he would also leave the company he helped build following Altman’s departure.
In a dramatic U-turn, the board attempted to reinstate Altman over the weekend.
However, their efforts proved futile and Microsoft managed to tap Altman and Brockman for its new “advanced AI research” unit.
Announcing the appointment yesterday morning, Microsoft boss Satya Nadella said he was “excited” to be working with the pair and would provide them with “the resources necessary for their success.”
But he insisted that the tech giant “remains committed” to OpenAI.
In response to Nadella’s post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Altman said: “The mission continues.” OpenAI exploded in popularity this year thanks to its generative AI chatbot ChatGPT.
The ChatGPT bot can pass exams and write poems, books, and software code. It has the potential to generate untold billions of dollars for its creators and investors.
But Evercore analyst Kirk Materne said the OpenAI boardroom saga was a “clear victory” for Microsoft, which has been in an arms race with companies like Google to dominate the AI world.
“While it remains to be seen how much brain drain there will be at OpenAI, we believe the fundamental risk to Microsoft is largely contained with Altman and his team on board,” he said.
Hundreds of OpenAI employees signed a letter last night demanding that the remaining members of OpenAI’s board of directors resign or that those OpenAI employees join Altman’s new company at Microsoft.
Signatories include some of OpenAI’s most senior executives, including former interim CEO Mira Murati and OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap.
Murati was briefly named CEO following Altman’s departure, but was replaced yesterday morning by Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear.
Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush, said: “The disaster situation at OpenAI could be considered one of the biggest decision debacles in the history of Silicon Valley.”
Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell, said: ‘What happens now with Open AI?
Will your workforce follow through on threats to resign if the current board doesn’t? That’s another chapter that will probably keep us hooked on this story.’