Sunday, December 10, 2023

OpenAI mess exposes the dangers of vendor lock-in for startups

In case you seemed at OpenAI previous to Friday afternoon, it had every thing an enterprise purchaser (and, for that matter, an investor) might presumably need in a startup: a fully killer product in ChatGPT, a rock star CEO and large potential future income.

It seemed as secure as any startup might presumably be — till it wasn’t. Whereas the state of affairs stays fluid, it seems that CEO Sam Altman is ready to drive his tour bus to Microsoft, taking co-founder Greg Brockman and most of his staff with him.

When the shit hit the fan Friday, out of the blue all the risks that vendor lock-in represents have been on show, and when the cleaning soap opera spilled into the weekend, startups who had invested closely in OpenAI tech needed to marvel how this was going to play out.

Vendor lock-in has been an issue for so long as there have been enterprise patrons. Whereas there are many massive language fashions available in the market from quite a lot of distributors, OpenAI’s GPT 3.5 and GPT 4 appeared to face above the remainder.

Many firms I’ve spoken with have confused that despite the fact that OpenAI seemed to be the market chief (with assist from Microsoft’s vital funding within the firm), there was a normal feeling that the present AI wave remains to be very early, and that it pays to be versatile when selecting a mannequin.

The businesses that selected a versatile strategy over relying on a single AI mannequin vendor have to be feeling fairly good right this moment. If there’s any object lesson to be discovered from all this, even because the drama continues to play out in actual time, it’s that it’s by no means, ever a good suggestion to go along with a single vendor.

Founders proceed cautiously

Founders who put all of their eggs within the OpenAI basket now discover themselves out of the blue in a really uncomfortable state of affairs, because the uncertainty round OpenAI continues to swirl. One startup founder, who selected to talk on background in order that they may very well be candid, says their firm was nearly to signal an enormous contract with OpenAI, and this example has left them in limbo.

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