According to its statement to Bloomberg, Google will no longer compete for the contract, which is estimated to be worth $10 billion, because the contract does not align with the company's principles on how artificial intelligence (AI) should be used.
Google was hoping that the $10 billion contract would boost its cloud business, which lags behind that of AWS and Microsoft.
"Bids are due October 12". For those government agencies with citizenship requirements and more controlled access to certain types of data, Azure Government will continue to offer services at FedRAMP High, with the addition of the government cloud guarantees around heightened screening of personnel, management exclusively by USA citizens, and other important protections. Some employees even resigned during the protest.
"Google Cloud enables us to make full use of the data we own, opening up new opportunities and enabling us to build new businesses". Tweeted today: "Google had every intention of bidding for, and possibly winning, the JEDI contract".
The decision by Google comes months after the company decided not to renew a contract with the Pentagon's AI programme following protests from employees who were uncomfortable about their employer working with the military.
In a statement, Google said they "couldn't be assured that [the deal] would align with [their] AI Principles". According to those principles, Google will not design or deploy AI that can cause harm or injury to people, that can gather information for surveillance that "violates internationally accepted norms", or that violates worldwide law and human rights principles. The importance of this transition can not be overstated: JEDI will be the foundation for integrating advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality into America's warfighting capability.
Google's announcement stopped short of some employee demands to abstain from all warfare-related technology in future, however. It's an essential certification for any company that hopes to land the Pentagon's contract. Recently, the Office of Management and Budget issued a new government-wide cloud strategy, "cloud smart", that specifically emphasizes the need for multi-cloud and hybrid solutions and calls for a "technology neutral" approach.
The JEDI contact is winner-take-all, and that's attracted protest from Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and other companies that would rather split the contract among a number of providers.