Elon Musk sues OpenAI and CEO Sam Altman

Anurag Singh
elon musk looking left during ted talk

Elon Musk has filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and its CEO in San Francisco for breaching the founding agreements of the startup.

OpenAI has been surrounded by controversies and lawsuits since its inception. The artificial intelligence startup is already fighting a copyright lawsuit with the New York Times. Now, the busy legal team at OpenAI will have to prepare for a case filed by Elon Musk.

The billionaire founder of Tesla, SpaceX, and others has sued OpenAI and its current CEO, Sam Altman, for breaching the artificial intelligence startup’s founding agreements. Musk alleges that OpenAI has breached its founding agreement by prioritizing profit over benefiting humanity.

OpenAI accused of putting profit before humanity

Elon Musk was one of the initial board members of OpenAI and helped the startup secure funding. However, he now believes that the startup’s “close relationship with Microsoft Corp. has undermined its original mission of creating open-source technology that wouldn’t be subject to corporate priorities,” reports Bloomberg.

Microsoft and OpenAI are both close partners. The Redmond-based company invested $1 billion into OpenAI in 2019 and then expanded its stake with a multi-billion investment in 2023. Microsoft never confirmed the exact amount it invested in the Sam Altman-led startup, but reports said it is around $10 billion.

OpenAI logo

“To this day, OpenAI Inc.’s website continues to profess that its charter is to ensure that AGI “benefits all of humanity.” In reality, however, OpenAI Inc. has been transformed into a closed-source de facto subsidiary of the largest technology company in the world: Microsoft,” the lawsuit said, as reported by Bloomberg.

The filing also highlights the recent restructuring of OpenAI’s leadership last year, when Sam Altman was ousted as CEO and then quickly reinstated with support from Microsoft.

“Mr. Altman hand-picked a new Board that lacks similar technical expertise or any substantial background in AI governance, which the previous board had by design,” the lawsuit said. “The new Board consisted of members with more experience in profit-centric enterprises or politics than in AI ethics and governance. They were also reportedly ‘big fans of Altman.”

We’ll have to wait and see how this lawsuit plays out for Elon Musk, OpenAI, and Microsoft. OpenAI has not commented on the lawsuit as of the time of writing.