Google pulls out of competition for $10B Pentagon cloud contract

11 October, 2018, 06:29 | Author: Sammy Rose
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Google decided not to renew its involvement in Maven and this week backed away from the cloud computing contract, citing similar concerns about values. As the Defense Department outlined in March, the agency lacks "a coordinated enterprise-level approach to cloud infrastructure, [which] makes it virtually impossible for our warfighters and leaders to make critical data-driven decisions at 'mission-speed, ' negatively affecting outcomes". But Google Cloud chief executive Diane Greene said at the time that the company could not control the military's "downstream use" of the technology.

"We are not bidding on the JEDI contract because first, we couldn't be assured that it would align with our AI Principles", a Google spokesman said in a statement to Bloomberg.

IBM also claims that the unusual procedures for taking bids on the JEDI contract are discriminatory, since they seem created to prefer one particular vendor over another. As only one company will be awarded the contract, Amazon is seen as the frontrunner. Among the guidelines: Google won't create AI for weapons, but it will still work with the military.

The tech giant has made the of the the Pentagon's competition for a possible $10 billion cloud-computing project.

"Had the JEDI contract been open to multiple vendors, we would have submitted a compelling solution for portions of it", a Google spokesperson said.

That program, known as Project Maven, is created to automate the analysis of surveillance footage collected by US military drones, a task that for years has been handled directly by the Air Force.

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Google says it chose not to compete for the contract because it believes this work would conflict with its corporate principles, and because it believes it may not hold all of the necessary certifications.

Google has dropped out of the race for the Department of Defense's $10 billion, 10-year cloud contract, but Microsoft is still all-in.

The JEDI contract attracted widespread interest from technology companies struggling to catch up with Amazon in the burgeoning federal government market for cloud services.

The decision to drop out of the bidding comes after thousands of Google employees protested the company's involvement in another United States government project.

The front-runner for the contract is widely believed to be Amazon, which already has a $US600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency.

JEDI is the Pentagon's attempt to create a common cloud infrastructure and platform capable of supporting its 3.4 million users.

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