OpenAI chaos is good for Google, Amazon, and others trying to catch the AI leader

Since ChatGPT came out in late 2022, no one has questioned OpenAI‘s lead in artificial intelligence.

The sudden firing of CEO Sam Altman just changed all that.

The company’s statement made clear that he was ousted for lying to the board. Employees and tech investors across Silicon Valley are shocked by the abrupt departure.

The chaos is good news for OpenAI’s competitors. Especially Google and Amazon, which were caught flat-footed by ChatGPT’s rapid success and the impressive capabilities of GPT-4 and other OpenAI models.

Instead of focusing 100% on extending its lead, OpenAI is now suddenly having to launch a search for a new full-time CEO. That is going to be disruptive — and not in a good Silicon Valley kind of way.

“It is likely to affect OpenAI’s current valuation, and create a major distraction,” said Oren Etzioni, a technical director at the AI2 Incubator and a partner at Madrona Venture Group. “In a fast-moving race, this lap has the advantage going to Google and Amazon but it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

When the news of Altman being pushed out hit on Friday afternoon, Microsoft shares fell. In contrast, Google stock popped a bit, as did Amazon shares.

Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in OpenAI and provides cloud infrastructure that runs the startup’s AI products.

When OpenAI had an all-hands meeting to discuss Friday’s bad news with employees, the main message was focused on this crucial partnership. Executives told staff that the relationship with Microsoft was stable, according to The Information.

Google may benefit most from OpenAI’s stumble. The search giant has a new AI model, called Gemini, that was supposed to come out this year. But it’s mid-November and there’s been no sign of that release. Any slowdown in OpenAI’s ability to ship updates and new products will give Google more time to get its AI ship in order.

For Amazon, its AWS cloud business was the leader of the first cloud-computing boom. OpenAI, and its burgeoning ties to thousands of AI developers, is a challenge to AWS’s cloud dominance. Again, any disruption to OpenAI’s leadership and product runway just gives more time for Amazon to catch up.

Interestingly, Google and Amazon recently invested billions of dollars in Anthropic, an AI startup that is probably the closest rival to OpenAI in terms of talent and product capabilities.

The post OpenAI chaos is good for Google, Amazon, and others trying to catch the AI leader appeared first on Business Insider.

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