Did OpenAI eye merger with Anthropic? Board wanted CEO Dario Amodei to replace Sam Altman: Report

OpenAI is backed by Microsoft while Google and Amazon have investments in Anthropic

Sam Altman Anthropic was founded by former executives of OpenAI when Sam Altman was CEO | Reuters/LinkedIn

OpenAI's board of directors wanted Dario Amodei, CEO of rival Anthropic, to replace its ousted chief Sam Altman, according to a report. OpenAI is backed by Microsoft while Google and Amazon have investments in Anthropic.

The San Francisco AI startup's board approached Dario seeking a potential merger between the two companies following which he will take over as the CEO of the new company, reported The Information, citing two people familiar with the matter.

However, Dario declined both the offers – for the merger and the CEO position, the sources told the outlet. Anthropic co-founders – CEO Dario, his sister and President Daniela Amodei, Jack Clark and Jared Kaplan – were all former executives at OpenAI. They quit the firm in 2020 over disagreements regarding safe development and governance of AI.

OpenAI board, which fired CEO Sam Altman on Friday, replaced him with Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati as interim chief. However, on Sunday, Murati invited Altman to meet OpenAI executives at the company's San Francisco headquarters to discuss his possible return.

Soon after, reports surfaced that Murati is leaving OpenAI along with several other employees and that the board appointed Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear as interim CEO.

Later in the day, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed that Altman and former OpenAI president Greg Brockman, who resigned after he was removed from the board, will join his firm to lead a new advanced AI research team. Microsoft is OpenAI's biggest investor with 49 per cent stake.

On Monday, more that 700 OpenAI staffers threatened to resign if Altman is not reinstated. 

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