Google won’t bid on $10 billion Pentagon cloud computing deal

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Only one provider will be chosen for the contract, a decision that the Department of Defense defended to Congress stating that the speed of handling task orders in a multiple-award contract operated by more than one firm "could prevent DOD from rapidly delivering new capabilities and improved effectiveness to the warfighter that enterprise-level cloud computing can enable".

After details of Google's involvement with Project Maven came to light, thousands of Google employees signed a petition asking for Google to bow out of the project, and dozens more resigned in protest.

In June, Google said it would not renew the contract once it expired, and that same month, it released a set of principles for its work in AI.

"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.

Google, in particular, believes it would be in the Pentagon's best interest to allow multiple clouds.

Bloomberg added that a Google spokesperson said, had an effort by a number of companies including Microsoft, International Business Machines Corp., and Oracle Corp.to split the contract into pieces succeeded, the company could have "submitted a compelling solution for portions of it".

Amazon Web Services is now the only company to have achieved an IL-6 security authorization, besting other competitors including Microsoft, Oracle and International Business Machines. Companies are due to submit bids for the contract, which could last as long as 10 years, on 12th October. Some Google employees reportedly quit over the company's work on Project Maven, a drone initiative for the U.S. government that could weaponize their AI research. "And second, we determined that there were portions of the contract that were out of scope with our current government certifications".

The expanded Azure Government Secret cloud service will make Microsoft "a strong option for the JEDI contract", said Julia White, corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure, adding that the company is capable of meeting the highest classification requirement for handling "top secret USA classified data".

Top Pentagon officials have said the JEDI contract would account for about 16 percent of the department's overall cloud-computing work, subsuming numerous department's own cloud efforts. Amazon has said it favors the single-cloud approach for the JEDI contract. In early March, Microsoft also announced a cloud-based environment for the Department of Defense as part of its Microsoft 365 for US Government offering.

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