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Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams: The bizarre reason stopping Sam Altman’s return to OpenAI

Sam Altman has conditioned his return to OpenAI on two terms. First the board members who fired him, resign from the board, and investors elect a new board. Second, all organisational meetings take place on Microsoft Teams, rather than Google Meet

In a bizarre series of events, it seems that Sam Altman may actually not return to OpenAI, despite investors hounding the board to ensure that the former CEO continues to manage the AI studio that gave us ChatGPT. The reason? A conflict between Altman and the board over Google Meet and Microsoft Teams.

The story around Sam Altman’s dismissal and then potential return to OpenAI, the AI development studio behind ChatGPT is getting stranger by the hour, as new developments keep on surfacing.

After getting terminated by a board of four people, reports surfaced that Sam Altman, the erstwhile CEO of OpenAI would be starting off his own venture. OpenAI’s staff, who had a very close relationship with Altman, threatened to quit OpenAI and join Altman’s new venture, even before the venture could take off.

Soon after Altman was fired, OpenAI’s President Greg Brockman, also a board member, quit, saying that he was not informed of Altman’s termination

As a result, OpenAI’s investors have been hounding the board to hire him back. Even Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, is trying to broker peace between the outsed CEO and the board members.

As per sources close to Altma, he has two key demands, both of them non-negotiable. First, he has demanded that the board members who fired him resign immediately from the board and that new members be elected by the investors as well as Nadella. The board, in principle, had agreed to this.

The second condition, which is even more bizarre, is that Altman wants all future virtual meetings, across all verticals and levels to take place through Microsoft Teams, and not Google Meet.

Over the weekend, reports surfaced that Altman had been fired by OpenAI’s board in a rather unceremonious way over a virtual conference using Google Meet. Given how AI security has been a major concern for the AI studio it seems a little odd.

Microsoft stands as the primary investor in OpenAI, having committed a substantial investment totaling $13 billion in support of the AI company. Notably, in the current fiscal year, Microsoft has executed a significant transaction, channelling $10 billion towards OpenAI under an agreement that allocates a share of OpenAI’s profits to Microsoft. Additionally, it is noteworthy that OpenAI’s GPT-4 technology is instrumental in powering the chatbot integrated into Microsoft’s search engine, Bing.

As for what happens to the staff at OpenAI, Altman loyalists are most likely to quit the company and go with Altman, to his new venture. The Verge, who broke the story of Altman’s firing, reported that several key employees had sent out an ultimatum to the board that if Brockman and Altman were not hired back by 5:00 PM Pacific Time, they would file their resignations, and go with him.

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