Microsoft and Apple ditch OpenAI board seats amid regulatory scrutiny

Microsoft has dropped its seat as an observer on the board of OpenAI, less than eight months after securing the non-voting seat. Apple was reportedly planning to join OpenAI’s non-profit board, but now the Financial Times reports that Apple will no longer join the board. OpenAI confirmed that Microsoft has given up its seat in a statement to The Verge, following reports from Axios and the Financial Times that Microsoft’s deputy general counsel Keith Dolliver wrote a letter to OpenAI late on Tuesday. A representative for OpenAI, Steve Sharpe, said, “We’re grateful to Microsoft for voicing confidence in the board and the direction of the company, and we look forward to continuing our successful partnership.” “We are developing a new strategy for educating and involving important strategic partners, like Apple and Microsoft, and investors, like Thrive Capital and Khosla Ventures, under the direction of CFO Sarah Friar.” “Regular stakeholder meetings to share progress on our mission and ensure stronger collaboration across safety and security” will be the new strategy that OpenAI is implementing with Apple and Microsoft. The OpenAI board has undergone changes as antitrust worries regarding Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI have intensified in the past few months. Shortly after the unrest that resulted in CEO Sam Altman’s removal and subsequent reinstatement, UK regulators began soliciting feedback on Microsoft’s collaboration with OpenAI in December. Along with other large-scale AI transactions, EU officials are also investigating the relationship. Additionally, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google’s stakes in Anthropic and OpenAI are being looked into by the FTC. Microsoft became OpenAI’s exclusive cloud partner after investing more than $10 billion in the company. All OpenAI workloads, including those for research, API services, and products, are likewise powered by Microsoft’s cloud services. Microsoft now has a competitive advantage in the AI space thanks to the acquisition, and OpenAI’s models enable a number of AI capabilities across Microsoft’s products and services, including Copilot, Bing search engine, and others.


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