While everyone is discussing the minute-by-minute live-action, let's step back and see the big picture for every business starting to invest (and depend) on AI in 10 bullet points.

  1. OpenAI structure was a clown car (imagine if Mozilla was running Google) and still is. This is terrible news for any tech venture that takes social responsibility seriously and builds specific rules between for-profit and non-profit. The OpenAI fiasco will have a halo effect for the foreseeable future, painting this as unviable or plain stupid—such a huge missed opportunity.
  2. Whatever Sam Altman does from now on, OpenAI technology has been stealth-acquired by Microsoft. While Satya Nadella was already controlling 49% of shares and was holding the future of this startup as it depends on accessing Microsoft's cloud infrastructure on the cheap, Microsoft is now in charge.
  3. This is smart on so many levels, but mainly because Microsoft got in the driver's seat of this major technology brick by shortcutting every single monopoly regulation in play.
  4. It's also a masterclass from Microsoft in exerting control on new tech through investing in startups! Seems obvious, but few major companies are still capable of building such a form of optionality and seizing their prize when the timing is right. Just wow.
  5. We should nonetheless pause and consider how much Microsoft has tied its future hold on the market to this massive bet on AI/LLM. They missed the mobile revolution, transferred their core business as a cloud company (not an OS dealer), and now push through as the global business and consumer AI platform through Office, Azure, and everything else they have on the shelf. Consider this a possible central single point of failure if AI doesn't deliver as much as it's been expected recently. I wouldn't bet against them now, but becoming a one-trick pony brings significant challenges (consider how Apple's reliance on the iPhone is playing as China disconnects from the global economy).
  6. But there's no going back from this version of AI technology now. LLMs are our new normal and will pop up in our daily interactions over news, the internet, customer service, product design, content production, arts, etc.
  7. Some irony, though, is that with Microsoft de facto in direct control of OpenAI (whatever everyone's PR will claim), the new versions of Microsoft Copilot and ChatGPT will be way slower and more cautious than what OpenAI unlatched on the market until now. Microsoft had a cold sweat regarding their stock valuation around the whole episode (the reason why Sam Altman was announced as joining Microsoft on Monday morning until I wasn't anymore). They're now going to be much more cautious, and their organizational culture will weigh heavily on OpenAI's next moves.
  8. In this control war, you shouldn't have missed that the fate of Sam Altman was as important as the fate of the 500+ employees of the startup. As a great philosopher said a long time ago, "Developers! Developers! Developers!"
  9. Also, consider how silent Google and the other GAFAMs were during this episode. Me? I was hearing knives behind sharpen, and I would trust that these trillion-dollar companies will unleash major product launches before Q3, 2024. How fast, though, Amazon or Apple will eventually catch up with updated Alewa or Siri is anyone's guess. But you should also ask this from your local bank, supermarket, hotel, or airline.
  10. Finally, behind the scenes, the whole fiasco is a story of the background war between self-proclaimed accelerationists vs. decelerationists in Silicon Valley. The ones who are blindly optimistic about AI vs. the ones who believe Skynet is already taking over. You know me; I despair for more nuance and am always sad that such black-and-white, very American tropes always hijack our collective narrative around tech. More European leadership on this, please?

More on this:

🟢 The year the GAFAM could disappear. Special episode, ChatGPT
This week, a special episode in our GAFAM series about ChatGPT (hey, you knew it was coming 🤗).
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