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Satya Nadella says Microsoft just wants stability and good governance at OpenAI not a board seat

Jyoti Mann   

Satya Nadella says Microsoft just wants stability and good governance at OpenAI— not a board seat
  • Satya Nadella says he wants "real stability" and "good governance" at OpenAI.
  • The Microsoft CEO told Bloomberg he doesn't want an OpenAI board seat.

Satya Nadella said he's "not interested" in a seat on OpenAI's board.

In an interview with Bloomberg at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday, the Microsoft CEO said he doesn't have any issues with OpenAI's ownership structure and just wants the ChatGPT maker to have "good governance."

"I'm comfortable, I have no issues with any structure, what we just want is good stability and as I said we don't even need, I'm not interested in a board seat," he said.

The comments come after a tumultuous week at OpenAI in November in which CEO Sam Altman was ousted, only to return a week later. Shortly after Altman was pushed out, Nadella hired him and then helped with mediation efforts, per The Guardian, to get him back in charge.

Microsoft has faced growing scrutiny over its $10 billion investment in OpenAI as the UK's antitrust watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority, said in December that it's "closely monitoring" the impact of such partnerships.

It's reviewing whether it means one company can exert control over another, or has more than 50% of the voting rights of the other company.

Nadella told Bloomberg: "We definitely don't have control [of OpenAI] … we just want to have a good commercial partnership that we want to be investors in the entity, even the way they are structured, so what I would like is good governance and real stability that's it."

The companies could also face an investigation from the European Commission, which said earlier this month that it's weighing up whether the partnership could be reviewed under EU merger regulations.

Commenting on the scrutiny, Nadella said it's "inevitable" that antitrust regulators will "want to look at whatever a company of our size and scale does."

The Microsoft chief doubled down on his comments regarding an OpenAI board seat: "It doesn't matter to me right, I mean the board seat is not the critical path at all for us."

He added: "What is most important as I said is we just want a board that cares about OpenAI. That's all we can ask for and we just want stability in the partnership so that we can then continue to invest in it."

Despite Microsoft overtaking Apple as the world's most valuable listed company last week, Nadella said: "The last thing you want to do is to fixate on the stock price, which we know means nothing in terms of what happens tomorrow, especially in our industry. Quite frankly the problem, in some sense, is for all of us whether we can bet it all on what comes next."

Microsoft didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

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