When Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott said the company would hire hundreds of OpenAI employees and match their current compensation, some Microsoft employees were furious.
“How many loyal employees have stayed at Microsoft while working 12+ hour days and living in constant fear of being laid off all year long? Now here is OpenAI,” one employee told Business Insider. “We worked even harder when we were told there was no budget to hire more people. 14-hour days?”
For current Microsoft employees, 2023 was a year where they feared for their jobs and their salaries. In January, Microsoft announced plans to lay off 10,000 people. In February, even some staff working on cloud and AI – Microsoft’s priority growth areas – were cut. In May, CEO Satya Nadella said Microsoft was freezing salaries and reducing its bonus and stock award budget for the year.
In July, Microsoft was still making layoffs, beyond the 10,000 initially planned, BI reported at the time. Microsoft has also halted projects and laid off staff in its “industrial metaverse,” its previous major AI initiative.
And then, after Microsoft’s AI partner OpenAI fired its CEO Sam Altman, Nadella announced Monday that he had hired Altman and OpenAI President Greg Brockman to lead a new cutting-edge research group on AI.
In a open letteralmost all OpenAI employees said: “Microsoft assured us that there were positions for all OpenAI employees. »
Scott confirmed the offer in an article on X, writing that all OpenAI employees had “a role at Microsoft” and that the software giant would match their OpenAI compensation.
“Different categories of employees”
Another Microsoft employee said the company has been under a strict hiring freeze, with rare exceptions, so the OpenAI offering makes it seem like there are “different categories of employees.” Microsoft declined to comment.
However, not all Microsoft employees are unhappy with the situation. Some believe the new OpenAI unit could be beneficial for employees, especially if Microsoft’s stock rises. This represents a large part of the remuneration in the company.
The new AI unit may not see the light of day if OpenAI agrees to take over Altman. However, the morale of some Microsoft employees has already been damaged.