Google Drops Out of Pentagon's $10 Billion Cloud Competition

Google Drops Out of Pentagon's $10 Billion Cloud Competition

The project, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud, or JEDI, involves transitioning massive amounts of Defense Department data to a commercially operated cloud system.

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.

For its part, Google told Bloomberg that it also supports the idea of splitting the JEDI contract between multiple providers, and that it would have submitted a bid on those terms.

"I don't think anyone was doubting that Microsoft would be able to get its security up to snuff before the JEDI contract", said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst James Bach.

The company did, however, add that they are still "working to support the USA government with our cloud in many ways". As the Washington Post wrote, Amazon is also one of the only major companies that supported a single, winner-take-all approach to the bidding process, which competitors have complained could essentially give it a monopoly on cloud computing contracts for the military in the future. "I don't think this rises beyond the level of a PR win".

In its statement on the JEDI bid, Google joined a chorus of commercial technology companies in criticizing the Pentagon's decision to award the contract to a single vendor, saying that a "multi-cloud" approach would have allowed the department to better match different solutions to different workloads. In recent months, Microsoft has been seen as a competitive alternative as it expands its work with the intelligence community.

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Google was provisionally certified in March to handle US government data with "moderate" security, but Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) have higher clearances.

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.

A Microsoft logo is seen in Los Angeles, California U.S. November 7, 2017. JEDI turns its back on the preferences of Congress and the administration, is a bad use of taxpayer dollars and was written with just one company in mind.

Microsoft has already obtained FedRAMP's highest rating for its Microsoft Azure Government business and an IL-5 through DISA.

Microsoft officials announced plans to expand its Azure Government Secret service for handling classified data last October but didn't provide at that time a deadline as to when the updated service would be available.

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