Why Did Elon Musk Drop His Lawsuit Against OpenAI?

A Dispute Over Profit and Purpose in the World of Artificial Intelligence

Elon Musk, the tech entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX, has withdrew a lawsuit against OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research company he co-founded in 2015. This lawsuit, filed in February 2024, accused OpenAI of abandoning its non-profit roots and preferring profits above its initial aim of developing AI for the benefit of humanity.

The complaint specifically targeted OpenAI co-founders Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, claiming mismanagement and a push toward a for-profit business. One major source of controversy was OpenAI’s cooperation with Microsoft. Microsoft made a major investment (reportedly $13 billion) in OpenAI, acquiring approximately a 50% share in the company. Musk claimed that this collaboration changed OpenAI into a “closed-source subsidiary” of Microsoft, effectively utilizing AI technology.

Microsoft uses OpenAI technology in applications such as Copilot, an AI tool for developers. This added to Musk’s concerns, implying a conflict of interest between OpenAI’s original intentions and its current business activities.

Unsurprisingly, OpenAI requested that the action be dismissed. They said that Musk’s true motivation was to obtain access to private information and technology through legal means. OpenAI also stated that there was no formal founding agreement with clear terms that they may have broken.

Neither OpenAI nor Musk’s lawyer have commented on the subject. It’s worth noting that Musk quit OpenAI in 2018 because of differences about its direction. Since then, he has founded his own AI business, xAI, which recently received a substantial $6 billion investment.

The timing of Musk’s decision to abandon the lawsuit is also interesting. Just one day before the court hearing on OpenAI’s dismissal request, Musk declared a ban on Apple devices within his firms. This ban appears to be tied to Apple’s inclusion of ChatGPT into its operating systems, which was achieved through a partnership with OpenAI.

While the reasons for Musk’s legal reversal are unclear, the overall picture implies that he and OpenAI continue to disagree on the responsible development and application of artificial intelligence.

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Nayab Khan

Nayab Khan is a freelance tech-writer whose specialty is absorbing the key data and articulating the most important points. She helps IT based organizations communicate their message clearly across multiple channels.

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