Neither Apple nor Microsoft Want OpenAI Board as Observers

Microsoft OpenAI Apple

Microsoft has reportedly ditched its observer seat on the OpenAI board while Apple is planning the same, reports Financial Times. It comes a week after Bloomberg spilled the beans on Apple’s Phil Schiller prepping to join the OpenAI board, as part of an AI partnership between the two companies.

The observer position that Microsoft assumed in November, following OpenAI CEO Sam Altman reclaiming his position, allowed the tech major led by Satya Nadella to attend OpenAI’s board meetings without voting rights and access confidential information.

Microsoft’s decision to ditch the observer seat is effective immediately. “We appreciate the support shown by OpenAI leadership and the OpenAI board as we made this decision,” Microsoft said, according to Axios.

Meanwhile, Apple, expected to assume a similar role, may not take on the observer position, FT reported, citing a “person with direct knowledge of the matter”. Instead, OpenAI will hold regular meetings with partners such as Microsoft and Apple, as well as investors Thrive Capital and Khosla Ventures. This is part of a new strategy led by Sarah Friar, OpenAI’s new CFO and former CEO of Nextdoor, to keep these key partners informed and engaged.

It’s believed that antitrust watchdogs in Europe, Britain, and the U.S. are concerned about Microsoft’s significant investment of over $10 billion in OpenAI and its observer seat, fearing it may wield too much influence over OpenAI. Nevertheless, Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI has resulted in the latter’s exponential growth in recent years.

So far, Generative AI has become synonymous with OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which continues to make waves on the internet. It’s once again in the news lately as part of the upcoming Apple Intelligence features expected in iOS 18, slated to debut this fall.

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