In OpenAI’s Board shake up, Microsoft exits, Apple withdraws

Microsoft has stepped down from its non-voting observer role on OpenAI’s Board, and Apple has decided not to take a similar position, according to reports from Axios and the Financial Times. OpenAI will now update its business partners and investors through regular meetings rather than board representation. This change comes amid increasing scrutiny from EU and US regulators concerned about Big Tech’s investments in AI startups potentially stifling competition.

On Tuesday, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, Keith Dolliver, sent a letter to OpenAI stating that the tech giant’s board role was “no longer necessary” due to the “significant progress” made by the newly formed board. Microsoft had accepted a non-voting position on OpenAI’s board in November following the brief ouster and reinstatement of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.

Bloomberg recently reported that Apple’s Phil Schiller might join OpenAI’s board in an observer role, but the Financial Times has since reported that Apple will not take up such a position. Instead, OpenAI will hold regular meetings with partners like Microsoft and Apple, as well as investors Thrive Capital and Khosla Ventures, to keep them informed and engaged.

OpenAI’s current eight-person voting board includes Sam Altman, former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, former CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Sue Desmond-Hellmann, former NSA director Paul M. Nakasone, former Sony America President Nicole Seligman, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, Instacart CEO Fidji Simo, and former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor as Chair.

Regulatory pressure on Big Tech is intensifying. Microsoft remains a critical financial and technological partner for OpenAI, having invested over $10 billion since early 2023. This partnership has provided Microsoft with early access to leading AI models and given OpenAI significant computing resources.
Despite Microsoft’s deep financial ties, OpenAI maintains its independence, governed by the OpenAI nonprofit.


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