Not so fast: Sam Altman is reportedly still angling to pull a 'Steve Jobs' and return to OpenAI

  • Sam Altman and Greg Brockman are open to returning to OpenAI — if the board step down, The Verge reports.

  • The consideration comes after Microsoft hired ex-CEO Altman and ex-President Brockman to lead its new AI team.

  • More than 600 OpenAI employees, including board member Ilya Sutskever, are threatening to quit.

Ex-OpenAI leaders Sam Altman and Greg Brockman are reportedly considering going back to OpenAI — if the board members who ousted Altman decide to step down.

Their apparent consideration, reported by The Verge, comes days after OpenAI ousted Altman. Brockman, who had been president of the company, soon quit in the wake of Altman's dismissal.

As of Monday, more than 600 OpenAI workers — including OpenAI cofounder and board member Ilya Sutskever — announced in an open letter that they are threatening to quit unless all board members resign and ex-CEO Altman is reappointed.

Even Sutskever, who participated in the ousting, is now apologizing for his actions.

"I deeply regret my participation in the board's actions. I never intended to harm OpenAI," Sutskever wrote in an X post on Monday. "I love everything we've built together and I will do everything I can to reunite the company."

On Monday, Microsoft also announced that Altman and Brockman will be joining the software giant to lead Microsoft's new AI team.

Now, multiple sources with direct knowledge of the matter told The Verge that Altman, along with Brockman and OpenAI's investors, are trying to find a plan for what The Verge dubbed a "graceful exit" for board members who ousted Altman.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs was fired from Apple in 1985. He came back in a blaze of glory in 1997. Some people are now saying Sam Altman could see a similar — though compressed — situation: being fired by the board and coming back wrapped in glory.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In the meantime, Microsoft's hiring of Altman and Brockman is simply a "holding pattern," the sources told The Verge. That's because Microsoft — which has a reported $10 billion investment in OpenAI — wanted to have at least a short-term resolution to the matter before markets opened Monday, the report said, which also said Microsoft didn't respond to a request for comment.

For his part, Altman posted on X on Monday afternoon: "We are all going to work together some way or other, and i'm so excited."

OpenAI and Microsoft didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment before publication.

Some tech watchers have said Altman's ouster from OpenAI — which he co-founded — and apparent moves to come back to the company were reminiscent of Apple's Steve Jobs.

Jobs famously was fired from Apple in 1985 after a board struggle. He had co-founded the company in 1976. He came back in a blaze of glory as interim CEO in 1997 and in 1998 introduced the iMac.

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