Google drops $10 billion bid for Pentagon contract

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Microsoft's cloud computing platform will greatly expand its government services offerings in early 2019, officials said Tuesday, including providing secret region capabilities for the Department of Defense.

Top Pentagon officials have said the JEDI contract would account for about 16 percent of the Department's overall cloud computing work, subsuming numerous Defense Department's existing cloud efforts.

This is partly because the company's new ethical guidelines do not align with the project, Google said on Monday, without elaborating.

Google drew up a new policy on artificial intelligence this year, following staff complaints about its work with the USA government on use of AI in weapons systems.

IBM also claims that the unusual procedures for taking bids on the JEDI contract are discriminatory, since they seem created to prefer one particular vendor over another.

AirAsia is collaborating with Google Cloud to integrate machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) into every aspect of its business and culture as part of its transformation into a travel technology company.

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The government has yet to make a decision about the complaint, but Google said that if the contract had been open to multiple vendors, it would have "submitted a compelling solution for portions of it".

The department also said it expects "to maintain contracts with numerous cloud providers to access specialized capabilities not available under the JEDI Cloud contract".

But FedRAMP certifications are just the starting point for vendors that want to compete for the Pentagon contract, which will transform the military's information technology infrastructure over a ten-year period.

Google controls less than 10 percent of the market share around cloud infrastructure services, and a Pentagon contract would've definitely boosted its profile. Microsoft first announced Azure Government Secret back in October, and today Julia White, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Azure said that new Azure Regions dedicated to secret USA classified data will be available in Q1 2019.

But thousands of Google employees this year protested use of Google's technology in warfare or in ways that could lead to human rights violations. However, IBM - like Oracle - takes issue with the idea that this should all be run by a single company.

Meanwhile, Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently took meetings in Washington to try to rebuild the company's relationship with the military amid all the employee unrest. IBM, Microsoft and Oracle have sharply criticized the Pentagon's approach and even mounted lawsuits seeking to overturn it, arguing that the project is unfairly tilted in Amazon.com's favor.

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