- Satya Nadella has strengthened Microsoft by snapping up Sam Altman amid the ongoing drama at OpenAI.
- That's the view of many tech-industry folk who have been lining up to praise his strategy.
- Among them is tech analyst Dan Ives, who called Altman the "golden child."
As the rapidly unfolding saga at OpenAI continues, key players and observers in the tech industry have been heaping praise on Satya Nadella for his clever strategizing.
Nadella was pretty quick to come to Altman's rescue and hire him Sunday night.
Nadella even tried to lead mediation efforts, per The Guardian. That's despite being kept in the dark by OpenAI as he "was not directly told by anyone from their board about any issues," he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Monday.
Altman, and Greg Brockman, who quit as OpenAI's president, will lead Microsoft's new advanced AI research team, although Nadella said he did admit on Monday he was "unsure" whether Altman would return to OpenAI.
The move signaled to industry watchers that Nadella means business when it comes to AI, especially as Microsoft's value grew by more than $50 billion on the back of the news.
Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives said in a note shared with Business Insider that Microsoft is "in a STRONGER position" by adding the "golden child" Altman and Brockman to run AI at the company.
Venture Highway investor Aviral Bhatnagar highlighted Nadella's winning strategy. He wrote in an X post, "You now understand why Satya Nadella is one of the greatest tech CEOs of this generation."
He added that Nadella "kept Altman in the fold, kept the transition as neat as possible, managed the chaos and the wild board decision making, didn't destroy OpenAI. What a boss move."
Analysts from RBC Capital Markets said in their note Monday that Microsoft "scored a major victory" and that by hiring Altman and Brockman, it's keeping its "AI halo."
Aaron Levie, the CEO of cloud-storage platform Box, was also a fan of how Nadella played his cards. "Incredible execution by Satya in one of the most dynamic situations in tech history," he said in an X post.
Senior Nvidia AI scientist Jim Fan applauded the decision as a "master 4D chess move." Fan said, "Satya comes up with a killer move so fast after a catastrophic setback." He added: "What a master class. Chaos is a ladder."
Microsoft seems to be getting more than its money's worth of the $10 billion it invested in OpenAI. It begs the question of how many of Altman's loyal followers will jump ship as about 95% of its 770 employees have threatened to quit if OpenAI's board doesn't resign.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether they will follow through on their threat and if Nadella will effectively acquire a huge chunk of OpenAI's talent on the cheap.
Either way, it's win-win for him, or as he put it in the Bloomberg TV interview: "Irrespective of where Sam is, he's working with Microsoft."