OpenAI delays launch of online store for custom chatbots


San Francisco-based OpenAI announced on Nov 6, at its first developer conference, that users could start building custom versions of ChatGPT without needing to learn any coding. — AP

OpenAI is delaying the launch of an online store for people to interact with an array of chatbots customised by its users, citing the interruption caused by the ousting and reinstatement of chief executive officer Sam Altman.

OpenAI shared the news in an email Thursday (Nov 30) to people who have been building GPTs, its term for the customisable versions of its popular ChatGPT chatbot. The company said it plans to roll out its GPT Store in early 2024, rather than in late 2023 as it had initially planned.

"While we had expected to release it this month, a few unexpected things have been keeping us busy!” the email said.

San Francisco-based OpenAI announced on Nov 6, at its first developer conference, that users could start building custom versions of ChatGPT without needing to learn any coding. The move could help the artificial intelligence startup beat back competition in an increasingly crowded market.

At the time, OpenAI said it planned to introduce a store later that month where users could find tailored chatbots from other users – and make money from their own – much as they might with apps in Apple Inc’s App Store. In the letter Thursday, OpenAI said it had previously intended to roll the store out in December, before its timeline had shifted.

On Nov. 17, the company’s directors dismissed Altman, saying in a statement that he was not "consistently candid” with OpenAI’s board, "hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.” The decision touched off a whirlwind five days at the company, including shifts in executive roles and nearly all employees signing a letter saying they may quit if Altman was not rehired. Altman officially returned as CEO, along with a rejiggered board, on Wednesday (Nov 29).

An OpenAI spokesperson said the company had no additional comment. – Bloomberg

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