Microsoft left OpenAI board observer seat after Apple partnership



Microsoft has given up its observer seat on the OpenAI board after Apple was rumored to join the Windows maker for the same role.

The tech company stands as the single largest inventory in OpenAI. It uses GPT models in the core of new generative AI apps including Copilot and other AI features. So far, the company has poured more than $13 billion into the ChatGPT maker.


Aside from these, OpenAI heavily relies on Microsoft’s AI server technologies and recently made a move to diversify some of its cloud infrastructure with Oracle.

Microsoft joined the OpenAI board as an observer in December last year after the company mysteriously sacked CEO Sam Altman. After rounds of talks, Microsoft managed to win back Altman’s CEO status and gained more control over the management.


The decision to give Microsoft a seat on the board has been widely criticized. Last month, the Federal Trade Commission announced opening an antitrust investigation into Microsoft and OpenAI.

During the annual developer conference, Apple announced a partnership with OpenAI. Its ChatGPT application will integrate into new iOS, iPadOS, and macOS operating systems. However, the iPhone maker has not shared any details on investment at the AI company.


Apple’s Senior Vice President – Craig Federighi announcing OpenAI ChatGPT integration for iOS, iPadOS, macOS at WWDC24 (Source – Apple)

This news was led by a report of Apple joining the OpenAI board as an observer. However, Microsoft has formally informed OpenAI to withdraw from its position on the board as per the letter seen by Bloomberg.

After this scene unfolds, OpenAI has dismissed this special seat and will no longer accept observers on the board after Microsft’s departure. The software giant said it has witnessed “significant progress” in the new board of directors at OpenAI. Therefore, Microsoft “no longer believes our limited role as an observer is necessary,” wrote the company in that document.

The reason is pretty formal but the probe issues may have forced Microsoft to make this move.

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