Hundreds of staff at OpenAI threatened to quit the leading artificial intelligence company on Monday and join Microsoft. They would follow OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman, who said he was starting an AI subsidiary at Microsoft following his shock sacking from the company whose ChatGPT chatbot has led the rapid rise of artificial intelligence technology.
In a letter, some of OpenAI's most senior staff members threatened to leave the company if the board did not get replaced.
"Your actions have made it obvious that you are incapable of overseeing OpenAI," said the letter, which was first released to Wired.
Included in the list of names of signers was Ilya Sutskever, the company's chief scientist and one of members of the four-person board that voted to oust Altman.
It also included top executive Mira Murati, who was appointed to replace Altman as CEO when he was removed on Friday, but was herself demoted over the weekend.
"Microsoft has assured us that there are positions for all OpenAI employees at this new subsidiary should we choose to join," the letter said.
Reports said as many as 500 of OpenAI's 770 employees signed the letter.
OpenAI has appointed Emmett Shear, a former chief executive of Amazon's streaming platform Twitch, as its new CEO despite pressure from Microsoft and other major investors to reinstate Altman.
The startup's board sacked Altman on Friday, with US media citing concerns that he was underestimating the dangers of its tech and leading the company away from its stated mission -- claims his successor has denied.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote on X that Altman "will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team," along with OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman and other colleagues.
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