Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Not an ‘Attractive’ Partner for the Pentagon
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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is competing with several tech giants for a $10-B Pentagon program that will move the military’s data onto the cloud, but wary and ambivalent company employees could scuttle the company’s bid
US Defense Secretary James Mattis met last August with Google founder Sergey Brin and CEO Sundar Pichai about moving Pentagon data to a commercial cloud provider to handle both its paperwork, and to push military mission information right to the front lines of battle, it has been reported reported.
Since then, the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, program has morphed into a single contract potentially worth $10-B over 10 years to be awarded by this year’s end.
The race is shaping up as a 4-way contest between Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Google, and Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL).
Google has kept its own interest in the contract out of the MSM, and hidden even from its employees.
About 3,100 Google employees signed a letter urging the company to forgo work on a pioneering but small-scale Air Force program called Maven that applies AI and machine learning to the job of classifying objects in surveillance footage.
The program may have been a starting point for future collaboration between the Pentagon and information giant.
At a company town hall on Wednesday to discuss Maven, news of the possible JEDI contract came as a surprise to the company employees
Some who attended the town hall said publicly they believed many people at the company would have strong objections to the Google providing cloud services to support combat operations, even if it was indirect.
The internal ambivalence within the company makes Google an unattractive as a partner with the US Military.
The scuttlebutt is that Amazon is favored, that may also be a problem. We will see.
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Have a terrific weekend.