Microsoft Prepared San Francisco Offices for OpenAI Employees

  • Microsoft was preparing to bring on OpenAI employees who were ready to quit after Sam Altman’s departure.
  • This included making space at its San Francisco offices and getting MacBook laptops ready for them. 
  • However, Altman announced he was returning as OpenAI’s CEO on Wednesday morning. 

Microsoft was getting ready to welcome hundreds of OpenAI employees to its offices in San Francisco before Sam Altman returned as OpenAI’s CEO on Wednesday, according to reporting from CNBC and Axios.

OpenAI’s board of directors ousted Altman as CEO in a surprise move on Friday. Altman was then poached by Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella to head its new advanced AI research team on Sunday. Nadella even said he was ready to welcome OpenAI employees who wanted to quit after Altman’s departure. 

The tech giant, which invested over $10 billion into the AI firm and reportedly owns 49% of it, had started making space for OpenAI staff at its LinkedIn offices in San Francisco which are only a 10 minute drive from OpenAI’s headquarters, a source familiar with the matter told Axios. 

The company was preparing MacBook laptops and training clusters so that staff could be onboarded and continue with their work immediately, the source said. 

It also had HR and legal workers on standby to deal with hiring and onboarding, sources said to both CNBC and Axios. 

However, it seems like this may no longer be necessary. Altman announced his return as OpenAI’s CEO on Wednesday morning on X after reaching an agreement with the company. Altman wrote that this decision was with “Satya’s support,” and he would continue building on OpenAI’s strong partnership with Microsoft.

Nadella responded to Altman on X saying: “We are encouraged by the changes to the OpenAI board. We believe this is a first essential step on a path to more stable, well-informed, and effective governance.”

OpenAI staff showed unwavering support for Altman after he was fired. 95% of the company’s workforce signed a letter saying they would quit and join Altman at Microsoft if he wasn’t reinstated and the board didn’t resign. 

Microsoft’s CTO Kevin Scott said in a post on X on Tuesday that Microsoft would “match” the compensation of OpenAI employees ready to join the company.

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