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Microsoft Proposes Salary Matching for All OpenAI Employees

Microsoft has extended a job offer to potential OpenAI defectors by pledging to match their current pay, following the controversial removal of CEO Sam Altman. Altman was dismissed on Friday, prompting Microsoft to extend an invitation for him to lead a new advanced AI research team. The upheaval has led to widespread discontent among OpenAI staff, with the majority threatening to resign unless Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman are reinstated.

The uncertainty surrounding Altman’s potential move to Microsoft, OpenAI’s major investor, is still unresolved. Evan Morikawa, an engineering manager at OpenAI, revealed that 743 out of 770 employees signed a letter urging the board’s resignation, with staff vowing to leave if their demands are not met. Microsoft’s Chief Technology Officer, Kevin Scott, confirmed the job offers, assuring OpenAI staff that Microsoft would match their compensation if they joined.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella expressed his commitment to Altman and OpenAI, emphasizing openness to various outcomes. Nadella acknowledged the need for change at OpenAI, indicating a possible shift in governance. Despite Microsoft’s substantial investment in OpenAI, its current ties do not extend to the board.

Nathan Benaich of Air Street Capital praised Nadella’s strategic decisions, highlighting Microsoft’s strengthened position with the acquisition of OpenAI leaders, talent attraction capabilities, robust financial standing, and significant investments in computing infrastructure.

Emmett Shear, former head of Twitch, has assumed the role of interim head of OpenAI amid the upheaval. Shear, who previously crossed paths with Altman through Y Combinator, is a key figure in the unfolding drama. The photo of Shear and Altman, alongside other tech luminaries, has circulated on social media, reflecting their shared history.

However, Shear’s post-Amazon departure tweets, particularly criticizing Microsoft, have drawn online scrutiny. Despite requests for comment, neither Shear nor OpenAI has responded. The situation remains dynamic, with the prospect of significant changes in OpenAI’s leadership and Microsoft’s potential influence on the horizon.

by Paul Britton

Full-time CBG author covering everything from business to wellbeing news, in Cyprus. and abroad.

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