Microsoft’s hiring of ousted OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on Monday marks a new twist in the seven-year-old partnership between the US giant and the startup that created ChatGPT.
Here are some key moments in the history of their partnership:
Established as a non-profit organization
OpenAI was founded in 2015 by entrepreneurs and investors including Sam Altman, Greg Brockman and Tesla chief Elon Musk.
It is founded as a non-profit organization that publishes open source research and software available to all.
Cooperation with Microsoft
Musk will leave the project in 2018 as a result of a conflict with the board.
Altman is turning OpenAI into a “limited revenue” company and is looking for new investors.
Microsoft invests a billion dollars
In 2019, Microsoft will invest $1 billion in OpenAI, largely in the form of computing credits, in exchange for a role in the future commercialization of its technologies.
Microsoft’s goal is to develop its cloud offering, where it competes with Google (Alphabet) and Amazon.
In 2020, OpenAI will release GPT-3, the third version of its large-scale language model trained on the massive amount of text Microsoft’s computing infrastructure scrapes from the Internet.
This model is much more efficient than its competitors, with around 175 billion parameters.
Supercomputer Trains AI
In 2020, Microsoft says it built a supercomputer designed exclusively for training large OpenAI models.
Its cloud network, Azure, can now make these systems available to Microsoft customers.
Images created by artificial intelligence
OpenAI in 2021 says it has developed DALL-E, an artificial intelligence model capable of creating images with description.
ChatGPT goes public
OpenAI will gain global attention with the November 2022 release of ChatGPT, a public language model initially available for free.
Microsoft is said to be looking for input
In January 2023, Microsoft will announce a “multi-billion dollar investment over several years” – $10 billion, according to US media.
It says it will “invest in the development of specialized supercomputing systems” in its partnership with OpenAI, but does not mention acquiring a stake in its equity.
According to US media, Microsoft had sought to buy 49 percent of OpenAI in a bid valued at $29 billion.
Microsoft integrates GPT-4 into products
In March 2023, Microsoft announced that it will integrate the GPT-4 version of OpenAI into its consumer products, such as the search engine Bing, Outlook email and Office software (Word, Excel), but will charge users extra.
Microsoft has not been notified of the termination
Microsoft has not been notified of OpenAI’s board of directors’ decision on Friday to fire Sam Altman, according to US press reports.
After trying to get him back to work over the weekend, the group announces that they are hiring him and co-founder Greg Brockman.
Brockman suggests that they continue to create AI products at Microsoft, and he announces the recruitment of several OpenAI managers for these projects.
Meanwhile, hundreds of OpenAI employees signed a letter on Monday threatening to leave the company and join Microsoft if the board is not replaced.