Microsoft Stock Soars After Sam Altman OpenAI Firing


Shares of Microsoft Corporation have hit all-time highs following a dramatic series of events at OpenAI, which culminated in the ousting of CEO Sam Altman.

Over the weekend, OpenAI faced internal turmoil when its board decided to fire Altman. Despite the support Altman received from employees and investors, the board stood on its decision, initially appointing chief technical officer Mira Murati as interim CEO before settling on Emmett Shear, the former Twitch CEO, to lead as interim chief. The move came nearly a year after the release of ChatGPT and amidst internal debates on the commercialization pace of AI technology. Altman’s firing led to a potential mass staff exodus and a tense standoff with Microsoft, OpenAI’s largest strategic shareholder.

The internal backlash included over 650 of the company’s 770 employees signing a letter demanding the board’s resignation and reinstatement of Altman and OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman. The letter, publicized by tech journalist Kara Swisher, criticized the board for jeopardizing OpenAI’s mission and undermining the firm’s work.

The surge in stock value reflects Wall Street’s sentiment regarding the actions of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who quickly moved to integrate Altman and Brockman into the leadership of a new AI research division at Microsoft.

In response to the upheaval at OpenAI, Nadella swiftly announced the hiring of Altman and Brockman to spearhead a new AI research division, with Altman being the CEO of the new company. Nadella promised Altman autonomy in the new venture saying that Microsoft has “learned a lot over the years about how to give founders and innovators space to build independent identities and cultures within Microsoft, including GitHub, Mojang Studios, and LinkedIn.”

The move is seen as a strategic coup for Microsoft by tech investor Dan Ives, who increased his target price on Microsoft to $425 per share saying that “we view Microsoft now even in a stronger position from an AI perspective with Altman and Brockman.”

Shares of Microsoft are trading 2.14 percent higher at $377.75, according to data from Google Finance.

Should the newly established venture flourish, Microsoft would still retain its 49 percent stake in OpenAI while also directly employing its founders, Altman and Brockman, increasing its position in the AI sector against competitors like Alphabet’s Google and Amazon. According to Ives, the move would ensure the tech giant’s continued access to OpenAI’s innovative AI models while also fostering new developments under Altman’s leadership.

Newsweek has reached out to OpenAI and Microsoft via email.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (R) speaks as former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman (L) looks on. Microsoft said it has plans to hire Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman to lead an internal AI research team.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images