Eight days later, Phil Schiller won’t join the OpenAI board after all

Just eight days after it was revealed that Apple Fellow Phil Schiller would join the OpenAI board as an observer, it’s now being reported that this won’t happen.

Instead, OpenAI will simply commit to regular meetings with Schiller and other partners and investors …

Original report

Bloomberg reported last week that Apple’s deal to integrate ChatGPT with Apple Intelligence would see the company given a non-voting role on the OpenAI board, and that Phil Schiller would be attending board meetings.

The board observer role will put Apple on par with Microsoft, OpenAI’s biggest backer and its main AI technology provider. The job allows someone to attend board meetings without being able to vote or exercise other director powers. Observers, however, do gain insights into how decisions are made at the company.

Phil Schiller will no longer join the OpenAI board

While the original report appears to have been accurate – that this was indeed the plan – the Financial Times says that this will no longer be happening.

Not only will Apple not take up an observer role on the board, but Microsoft has already given up the seat it held.

Microsoft has given up its seat as an observer on the board of OpenAI while Apple will not take up a similar position [and] Apple had also been expected to take an observer role on OpenAI’s board as part of a deal to integrate ChatGPT into the iPhone maker’s devices, but would not do so, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter […]

OpenAI would instead host regular meetings with partners such as Microsoft and Apple and investors Thrive Capital and Khosla Ventures

Appears to be due to antitrust concerns

The change of plan appears to relate to antitrust concerns. Regulators in both the US and Europe are already investigating Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI, and it was possible that Apple could have opened itself up to a similar investigation by taking a seat on the board, even without voting powers.

Both companies appear to have decided that it’s not worth the fight, and that informal briefings would offer a similar benefit without the regulatory scrutiny.

Photo by Nastuh Abootalebi on Unsplash

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