Google drops out of $10B JEDI competition

Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene takes the stage at Cloud 2018

Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene takes the stage at Cloud 2018

Google's announcement on Monday came just months after the company decided not to renew its contract with a Pentagon artificial intelligence program, after extensive protests from employees of the internet giant about working with the military.

Thousands of staff had already protested about working on a separate Department of Defense contract and against this backdrop has opted not to proceed further with the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud (Jedi).

"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.

"We are not bidding on the JEDI contract because first, we couldn't be assured that it would align with our AI Principles", a Google spokesman said in a statement to Bloomberg. Bids are due October 12.

"We will continue to pursue strategic work to help state, local and federal customers modernize their infrastructure and meet their mission critical requirements", a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

Still, Google's decision to pull out was probably a smart one given that its chances of landing the contract were pretty slim, a second analyst said.

The company also defended itself when AI top gun Dr. Fei-Fei Li announced last month that she was leaving Google, saying the move didn't have any relation with the military controversy.

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Even when we won 3-0 at home, 4-3, 2-1 at City, over the full match it was never like this. "It was really intense". I [asked] him: "'Big one?' and he said: "'I don't think so, but big enough that I go off'".

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.

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". As only one company will be awarded the contract, Amazon is seen as the frontrunner.

The decision to drop out of the bidding comes after thousands of Google employees protested the company's involvement in another USA government project.

That program, known as Project Maven, is created to automate the analysis of surveillance footage collected by USA military drones, a task that for years has been handled directly by the Air Force.

The bids for the $10 billion Department of Defense cloud computing contract are due by the end of the week, and Microsoft laid out its case for that business Tuesday in a blog post that highlighted its ability to secure the most sensitive government applications. Amazon has said it favors the single-cloud approach for the JEDI contract.

JEDI is the Pentagon's attempt to create a common cloud infrastructure and platform capable of supporting its 3.4 million users.

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