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Microsoft and Apple withdraw observer roles from OpenAI board

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Microsoft and Apple have decided to relinquish their observer seats on the OpenAI board.

This move, reported by 'The Financial Times', occurs against a backdrop of heightened regulatory scrutiny concerning the involvement of tech giants in AI startups.

Microsoft, which has made significant investments in OpenAI, including a substantial $13 billion in its generative AI technology, ChatGPT, has announced its immediate withdrawal from the observer role. The decision was communicated through a letter to OpenAI, with Microsoft expressing satisfaction with the progress made by the newly formed board.

Similarly, Apple, which was poised to take on an observer role as part of an agreement to integrate ChatGPT into its devices, has decided not to proceed with this position. While Apple declined to comment on the matter, sources indicate that the company will not be taking up an observer role on OpenAI's board.

In response to these developments, OpenAI has announced a revised strategy for engaging with its strategic partners and investors.

According to the FT report, OpenAI plans to hold regular meetings with partners like Microsoft and Apple, as well as investors such as Thrive Capital and Khosla Ventures. This new approach aims to foster a more inclusive and collaborative governance and strategic decision-making process.

Recently, Phil Schiller, Apple's former marketing chief, was added to OpenAI's board as an observer. However, with the latest changes, Schiller will no longer be observing OpenAI's operations, highlighting the fluid and possibly tense dynamics within the organization’s boardroom.

Analysts speculate that Microsoft's and Apple's decisions to step back from their observer roles might be driven by strategic considerations or internal dynamics within OpenAI. While some suggest potential concerns over antitrust scrutiny or strategic disagreements, the exact motivations behind these decisions remain unclear.

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