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Microsoft’s star AI chief peers into OpenAI’s code, highlighting an unusual rivalry | Semafor

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the unusual dynamic between Microsoft and OpenAI, two AI companies that are both collaborators and competitors.

🙋 Q&A

[01] OpenAI's Relationship with Microsoft

1. What is the relationship between OpenAI and Microsoft?

  • OpenAI and Microsoft are inextricably linked, as Microsoft has a multibillion-dollar investment in OpenAI and intellectual property rights to its software.
  • Microsoft was instrumental in building the compute power necessary to train OpenAI's large language models like GPT-4.
  • The two companies work closely together to bring OpenAI's products to market at scale, with Microsoft often seeing OpenAI's products before they are publicly available.
  • However, Microsoft and OpenAI are also competitors, as Microsoft is building an "in-house OpenAI competitor" within the company.

2. How has Mustafa Suleyman's move to Microsoft affected the relationship?

  • Mustafa Suleyman, a co-founder of DeepMind, is now the head of AI efforts at Microsoft.
  • Suleyman's presence at Microsoft has brought new attention to the awkward dynamic between the two companies, as some at OpenAI have bristled at the arrangement.
  • Suleyman's experience and expertise in AI could help Microsoft recruit talent and develop its own AI models to compete with OpenAI.

[02] OpenAI's Intellectual Property and Research

1. What access does Microsoft have to OpenAI's intellectual property and research?

  • Technically, Microsoft has access to OpenAI's launched products, but not its top secret research projects.
  • However, in practice, Microsoft often sees OpenAI's products long before they are publicly available due to the close collaboration between the two companies.

2. How might Microsoft's access to OpenAI's technology affect the competition between the two companies?

  • Suleyman's presence at Microsoft gives the company an "ace up its sleeve" when it comes to developing AI models, as he could help recruit AI talent to compete with OpenAI.
  • If Microsoft and OpenAI decide to go it alone in the future, Microsoft's access to OpenAI's technology and Suleyman's expertise could give it an advantage in developing its own AI models.
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