ibusinesslines.com October 15, 2018

Google drops out of $10bn Pentagon cloud project

11 October 2018, 06:59 | Jodi Jackson

Getty Images

Getty Images

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.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also recently said that the company is looking to strike right balance in terms of its work with the government. Other major cloud service providers - Amazon and Microsoft - have also been criticized by their employees for working with the military and other defense projects. Several Google employees left due to the company's involvement in the Project Maven, which is a drone project for the U.S. government.

The bid was for a Pentagon initiative called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), a plan to move the bulk of the Department of Defense's data to a centralized cloud infrastructure.

The plane would have data that is now held by contractors move to a cloud solution, and tech companies including Google, Amazon and Microsoft were stepping up to be part of it.

Google would have bid on the proposal if the project had been split, the company says.

Google will not be competing for the Pentagon's estimated $10bn cloud computing contract.

Google has made a decision to drop out of the bidding for the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year cloud computing project because it may conflict with its "corporate values".

In a report to Congress, the Defense Department said making multiple awards under current acquisition law would be a slow process that "could prevent DoD from rapidly delivering new capabilities and improved effectiveness to the warfighter that enterprise-level cloud computing can enable".

Expected to absorb some of the Pentagon's existing cloud efforts, the JEDI cloud is considered a "pathfinder" effort that the Defense Department will build upon for decades.

The Tech Workers Coalition claimed pressure from Google employees was the true reason for Google's exit.

"We are aligning ourselves to contract vehicles that allow a multi-cloud approach and we are heavily pursuing those", she noted.

Microsoft now joins Amazon Web Services as one of the few vendors capable of hosting the secret and top secret data required by the contract.

Earlier this week, Google ruled itself out of the running for the ten year contract, citing concerns about potential ethical violations relating to the use (or misuse) of AI capabilities. But IBM took that criticism a step further in arguing that the single-award approach would conflict with the White House's "Cloud Smart" strategy, which emphasizes leveraging the best approaches from government and commercial industry.

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