Microsoft’s billions can’t buy a voting seat on new OpenAI board


Update from November 30:

According to The Verge, Microsoft will join OpenAI’s board of directors as a “non-voting observer.” This will give the tech giant more insight into the organization’s internal processes, but no official voting rights on decisions.

The arrangement remains unusual: Microsoft owns 49 percent of the for-profit OpenAI organization, which is controlled by the nonprofit board. Previously, Microsoft had no insight into the board, so the company has gained at least some power.

In addition, Sam Altman is officially back as CEO. In an internal memo, he writes of “zero ill will” toward chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, who is said to have contributed to Altman’s 4.5-day downfall. Sutskever later spoke out publicly against the board and its decision.



Moreover, OpenAI did not lose any employees or customers during the crisis, Altman wrote. “I am sure books are going to be written about this time period, and I hope the first thing they say is how amazing the entire team has been.”

Original article from November 29:

OpenAI will reportedly deny seats on its revamped board to major investors such as Microsoft, Thrive Capital, and Khosla Ventures. The decision suggests that the company will prioritize security practices over investor returns, which was a key point of discussion in the bizarre story surrounding Sam Altman’s 4.5-day ouster. The new board is expected to have nine members, with Bret Taylor, Adam D’Angelo, and Larry Summers announced as the first appointees. Microsoft, which has committed more than $10 billion to the development of OpenAI, is unlikely to have a representative on the board. The recent leadership turmoil has raised concerns among investors about the company’s governance structure.

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