Google drops $10 billion bid for Pentagon contract

Getty Images

Getty Images

Google is not the only tech giant to have been competing to win the Department of Defense's JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) project, which deals with hosting classified and unclassified information - other contestants include Microsoft and Amazon.

Google is not bidding on the JEDI contract since the company is not confident that the contract would align with its AI principles and there were several areas in the contract that were out of scope with present government certifications.

Bids for the $10 billion contract are due by Friday. White also confirmed the company's intent "to deliver Azure Government services to meet the highest classification requirements, with capabilities for handling top secret US classified data".

"Leaning forward and looking at the overall, the fact of the matter is the DoD is a multi-cloud environment and will continue to be one, and Google will pursue those multi-cloud, open source type environments because we believe that's the right thing for our customers".

Google dropped out of the JEDI race yesterday, which leaves Microsoft and market leader Amazon among the strongest competitors.

Amazon has the highest number of necessary government security certifications, racked up as part of its deal with the Central Intelligence Agency.




Earlier this year, an employee rebellion forced Google to pull out of the Pentagon's Project Maven, when the contract comes up for renewal next year.

The cloud computing contract is thought to be worth as much as $10 billion, with AWS and Microsoft also in the running. In May it was that Google employees argued for months over the company's decision to help the U.S. Department of Defense analyze video footage gathered by military drones. Google recently announced it was bowing out of the bidding, citing possible ethical objections to lethal AI and a set of requirements that Google could not now meet - presumably approval to host secret and top secret data.

The move follows a broader reckoning at Google over how the company's artificial intelligence algorithms, which are some of the most advanced in the world, should be applied to the work of national defense.

Amazon Web Services is now the only company to have achieved an IL-6 security authorization, besting other competitors including Microsoft, Oracle Corp. and International Business Machines Corp. As only one company will be awarded the contract, Amazon is seen as the frontrunner. But the protests are about more than just the government being unfair, it's also about the Pentagon handing the keys to the kingdom over to a single vendor - a strategy that would make any security pro's eye twitch.

Google's leadership and employees have been at odds over United States government contracts.

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