Microsoft expands cloud service in push for $10 billion Pentagon contract

Google dark clouds

Google Bows Out Of Pentagon's $10 Billion Cloud-Computing Race

That the Pentagon could trust housing its digital data with Google would have been helpful to its marketing efforts with large companies.

Google's decision not to make a bid comes months after it faced severe backlash from its employees thanks to its participation in another military program called Project Maven, which involved using AI to identify targets for drone strikes. Some employees even resigned in protest. Following that, it announced it would not be renewing that contract when it expires. Among the guidelines: Google won't create AI for weapons, but it will still work with the military.

"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.

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

The front-runner for the contract is widely believed to be Amazon, which already has a $US600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency. Amazon has said it favors the single-cloud approach for the JEDI contract.

The Government Accountability Office is expected to make a decision regarding Oracle's complaint by November 14.

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The bidding process is due to end this week, but Google will now not be taking part. Google, in particular, believes it would be in the Pentagon's best interest to allow multiple clouds. He told SiliconANGLE that Google's decision was interesting in light of other companies' threats to sue the government over a lack of inclusion.

The contract, known as Project Maven, is created to automate the analysis of surveillance footage collected by US military drones, a task that has for years been handled directly by USA airmen. Though Maven itself was of limited value to the company, senior Google executives allegedly viewed it as a gateway to lucrative defence contracts involving projects like as surveillance systems that could monitor entire cities.

"So they were wise to walk away from this", he said, "There is lots of internal drama and they out of compliance anyway, making the odds bad on all fronts".

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Top Pentagon officials have said the JEDI contract would account for about 16 percent of the Department's overall cloud computing work, subsuming numerous Defense Department's existing cloud efforts.

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