WASHINGTON: Google has decided not to compete for the Pentagon’s cloud-computing contract valued at as much as $10 billion, saying the project may conflict with its corporate values.
The project, Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure cloud (JEDI), involves transitioning massive amounts of Defence Department data to a commercially operated cloud system.
Google announced their decision on Monday; companies are due to submit bids for the contract, which could last as long as 10 years, on 12th October.
Google decided not to renew its contract after extensive protests from employees of the internet giant about working with the military. Then the company launched a set of principles to evaluate the model of AI project it would chase.
“We are not bidding on the JEDI contract because we couldn’t be assured that it would align with our AI Principles and there are some portions which were out of scope based on our current government certification,” said a Google spokesman in a statement.
Google is behind other technology companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in obtaining government cloud-security authorizations that depend on the sensitivity of data a service is hosting.
The JEDI contract attracted widespread interest from technology companies struggling to catch up with Amazon in the burgeoning federal government market for cloud services.
Final requirements for the project were released in July after a months-long lobbying campaign in Washington by tech companies including Microsoft, International Business Machines Corp. and Oracle Corp. that opposed the Pentagon’s plans to choose just one winner for the project instead of splitting the contract among a number of providers.
“JEDI contract had been open to multiple vendors, we would have submitted a compelling solution for portions of it, Google Cloud believes that a multi-cloud approach is in the best interest of government agencies because it allows them to choose the right cloud for the right workload.,” Said the Google spokesman.
In a report to Congress, the Defence 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 efficiency to the warfighter that enterprise-level cloud computing can enable.”
The department also said it expects “to maintain contracts with numerous cloud providers to access specialized capabilities not available under the JEDI Cloud contract.”
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