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Microsoft Abandons OpenAI Board Observer Seat; Apple Rejects Role Amid AI Expansion

Microsoft exits OpenAI's board; Apple declines the observer role.

Microsoft has vacated its observer seat on OpenAI's board, citing substantial progress under new leadership, while Apple declines to step into the observer role.

Microsoft's Strategic Exit from OpenAI

Microsoft has decided it was no longer necessary to have a position on OpenAI's board as an observer, despite the fact that the AI startup's leadership has seen considerable improvement over the last eight months, prompting regulatory scrutiny from both the United States and Europe.

Reuters reports that according to a source close to the situation, Apple will not serve as an observer on OpenAI's board, despite widespread expectations that it would. This decision came after Apple revealed last month that it would introduce OpenAI's chatbot ChatGPT to its devices. When asked for comment, Apple remained silent.

Thrive Capital, Khosla Ventures, and Microsoft and Apple are among OpenAI's key partners and investors; the business plans to have frequent stakeholder meetings to implement a new engagement strategy, according to a representative from OpenAI.

Following OpenAI CEO Sam Altman's reascendance to the helm of the business that runs the generative AI chatbot ChatGPT in November of last year, Microsoft assumed the role of an observer on the board without voting power. Its seat granted it access to OpenAI's board meetings and sensitive information, but it lacked the voting power to choose or elect directors, per MSN.

Concerns Over AI Market Dominance

Antitrust regulators in the United States, Europe, and Britain are concerned about Microsoft's influence over OpenAI due to its $10 billion investment and its observer seat.

Microsoft decided to step down from its role as an observer because of OpenAI's new alliances, innovations, and expanding client base since Altman's return to the firm.

"Over the past eight months we have witnessed significant progress by the newly formed board and are confident in the company's direction. Given all of this we no longer believe our limited role as an observer is necessary," it said in a July 9 letter to OpenAI.

Regulatory Scrutiny and Microsoft's AI Expansion Plans

The cooperation will not be governed by the bloc's merger laws, according to EU antitrust officials last month. However, they stated that they would seek third-party opinions on the exclusivity restrictions in the agreement since Microsoft does not control OpenAI.

The antitrust authorities in the United Kingdom and the United States, on the other hand, are still worried about Microsoft's influence on OpenAI and doubt its independence. With the goal of making money and proving their independence to antitrust regulators, Microsoft and OpenAI are becoming more competitive in selling AI technology to commercial clients.

It is commonly believed that Microsoft is trying to diversify its AI products beyond OpenAI by hiring Inflection's CEO to head its consumer AI group and expanding its AI offerings on the Azure platform.

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