Microsoft Drops Observer Seat on OpenAI Board Less Than Eight Months After Securing Non-Voting Seat – Apple No Longer Joining Board

San Francisco, California – Microsoft has decided to relinquish its seat as an observer on the board of OpenAI, only months after obtaining the non-voting position. Reports had suggested that Apple was planning to join the nonprofit board of OpenAI, but now, according to the Financial Times, Apple will not be pursuing this opportunity.

OpenAI has officially confirmed Microsoft’s decision to give up its seat, as detailed in a statement provided to The Verge. This development follows reports from Axios and the Financial Times highlighting a letter from Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, Keith Dolliver, addressed to OpenAI.

In response to Microsoft’s exit, OpenAI spokesperson Steve Sharpe expressed gratitude for Microsoft’s support and underscored a commitment to their strategic relationships. OpenAI, under the guidance of CFO Sarah Friar, aims to adopt a new approach to engaging key partners such as Microsoft and Apple, along with investors like Thrive Capital and Khosla Ventures.

The shift in OpenAI’s board structure signifies a move towards closer collaboration with Microsoft and Apple through regular stakeholder meetings to enhance alignment on matters related to safety and security. Amidst these changes, concerns related to antitrust issues surrounding Microsoft’s collaboration with OpenAI have surfaced in both the UK and the EU, prompting regulatory scrutiny.

Microsoft’s substantial investment in OpenAI exceeding $10 billion has solidified its position as the exclusive cloud partner for the organization. Leveraging Microsoft’s cloud services, OpenAI benefits from enhanced capabilities to power various AI features across its product range, including contributions to Microsoft’s Bing search engine, Copilot, and other AI-driven functionalities.

With ongoing regulatory investigations surrounding various Big Tech AI deals, including Microsoft’s involvement with OpenAI, the landscape for tech partnerships is undergoing increased scrutiny. The dynamics of these collaborations continue to evolve, shaping the future of AI development and its implications across industries.