(Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella signaled that he’d be open to Sam Altman going back to OpenAI, rather than joining his company as part of a surprise move announced over the weekend.
Whether Altman joins Microsoft or returns to OpenAI — as some of the startup’s investors have been trying to arrange — the entrepreneur will be working with Microsoft, Nadella said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. Microsoft is the biggest backer of OpenAI, the startup where Altman was ousted as CEO last week, ensuring that the software giant will maintain ties with him.
“Irrespective of where Sam is, he’s working with Microsoft,” Nadella said.
In one of many shocking twists in the OpenAI saga, Nadella announced on Sunday that he was hiring Altman to run a new artificial intelligence group at Microsoft. Altman’s firing from OpenAI on Friday had stunned Silicon Valley, and investors in the startup have lobbied for his return.
By Monday, nearly all of OpenAI’s employees had threatened to quit and follow Altman to Microsoft unless the current board resigned.
Read More: OpenAI Investors, Led by Thrive, Angle to Bring Back Altman
Nadella said he hasn’t been told of any wrongdoing by Altman at OpenAI. “I remain confident in Sam and his leadership and capability, and that’s why we want to welcome him to Microsoft,” he said in the interview.
Regardless of what happens, though, OpenAI needs governance changes, he said.
“Surprises are bad, and we just want to make sure things are done in a way that will allow us to partner well,” he said. Major changes happening without Microsoft in the loop “is not good, and we will definitely ensure that some of the changes that are needed, happen.”
Nadella said he hasn’t been told why Altman was fired.
“I’ve not been told about anything,” Nadella said. “The board has not talked about anything that Sam did other than some breakdown in communications.”
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