Apple Joins OpenAI's Board: Phil Schiller Takes Observer Role in Historic Partnership

By Madz Dizon

Jul 02, 2024 05:28 PM EDT

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Apple Fellow Phil Schiller arrives at the United States District Court on May 20, 2021 in Oakland, California.
(Photo : Philip Pacheco/Getty Images)

Applehas been granted an observer role on OpenAI's board, solidifying the growing relationship between these unexpected partnership.

In June, Apple made an announcement stating that ChatGPT would be available on their iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices, as part of their artificial intelligence features.

Apple Expands AI Integration with New Observer Role on OpenAI's Board 

According to Bloomberg's sources, Phil Schiller, who previously served as Apple's marketing chief and currently heads the App Store, has been selected for the position. He will not be acting as a full-fledged director, but rather as a board observer.

Sources said Schiller has not yet attended any meetings, and the new board arrangement will be implemented later this year. The situation is subject to potential changes. 

By taking on the board observer role, Apple will be on the same level as Microsoft Corp., which is OpenAI's largest supporter and primary provider of AI technology. The position offers the opportunity to observe board meetings without having the authority to vote or exercise other director powers.

Observers, on the other hand, can gain valuable insights into the decision-making process within the company.

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Apple, Microsoft to Co-Observe OpenAI Board 

Having Microsoft and Apple attend board meetings together could potentially complicate matters for these long-standing tech giants, who have had a complex relationship of rivalry and partnership throughout the years.

It is anticipated that certain OpenAI board meetings will focus on upcoming AI initiatives involving OpenAI and Microsoft.

During these discussions, there may be a preference for excluding Schiller from the deliberations, as desired by Microsoft. Board observers frequently choose to leave meetings when sensitive discussions arise. 

Apple and OpenAI have announced a new partnership that will allow Siri to seamlessly transfer complex user requests to ChatGPT, with the user's explicit permission.

There is no financial arrangement between OpenAI and Apple for the integration of ChatGPT into Apple's operating systems. Both parties are not involved in any payment transactions. There is currently no financial transaction taking place as part of the agreement. 

READ MORE: Elon Musk's xAI Loses Founding Engineer to Return to OpenAI  

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