Google drops out of Pentagon’s $10 billion cloud competition

Google is behind other technology companies such as Amazon and Microsoft in obtaining government cloud-security authorizations that depend on the sensitivity of data a service is hosting. Mint

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

However, the firm does leave space for potential government collaboration stating that Google "will continue our work with governments and the military in many other areas".

The contract could last up to ten years and the victor of the bid is expected to be announced at the end of the year.

"While we are working to support the USA government with our cloud in many areas, we are not bidding on the JEDI contract because first, we couldn't be assured that it would align with our AI Principles and second, we determined that there were portions of the contract that were out of scope with our current government certifications", a Google spokesperson said in a statement. Final bids are due October 12.

"We are making major progress in delivering this cloud created to meet the regulatory and compliance requirements of the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community", the exec wrote in a blog post today.

Earlier this year, controversy emerged within Google over the company's participation in Project Maven, an effort to build artificial intelligence for the Department of Defense to analyze drone video footage, which could be used to target drone strikes.

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The company later said it would entirely ban the development of AI software that can be used in weapons systems and establish a new set of AI principles that would set limits on the company's work moving forward.

The long and costly process to gain authorization to sell cloud services to federal agencies can give technology companies a boost when they compete for government contracts. "You may see a place to recharge your Fitbit but nothing to indicate the sort of patriotic identity that the rest of the defense contractors have".

The contract has a massive ceiling value of $10 billion over a period of 10 years, one of the largest of its kind in history. Microsoft may not be able to win this multi-billion-dollar contract over Amazon, but Microsoft's Julia White emphasized today that the company's expanded Azure Government Secret Cloud service would make it "a strong option for the JEDI contract". For its part, IBM argued that the Pentagon's approach would only weaken its cyber defense.

That work will not include JEDI, which seeks to improve the Pentagon's cloud capabilities.

These certifications are a big deal in the world of government cloud computing, and they are one of the reasons Google dropped out of the running for the JEDI contract Monday. "At a time when new technology is constantly becoming available, customers should have the ability to take advantage of that innovation".

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