JEDI, which stands for Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, is a 10-year deal with the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide cloud services for all branches of the military.
A Google spokesman told Bloomberg on Monday that JEDI may conflict with the company’s corporate values. “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. “And second we determined that there were portions of the contract that were out of scope with our current government certifications.”
The spokesman added that Google is “working to support the U.S. government with our cloud in many ways.”
In June, the company decided not to renew its contract with a Pentagon drone program after more than 4,000 Google employees signed a letter demanding that the company cancel the contract and not use its AI technology to support war efforts.
Shortly after, Google CEO Sundar Pichai posted a blog titled “AI at Google: our principles,” which, among other things, committed to only use AI for “socially beneficial” purposes. He also wrote that Google would not weaponize AI or deploy the technology in applications that “cause or are likely to cause overall harm.”
Google was already considered to be behind frontrunners Amazon and Microsoft to snag the JEDI deal because Amazon and Microsoft have higher levels of government cloud security authorizations. Microsoft today bolstered its government cloud support and late last month scored an IT modernization deal with the U.S. Air Force.
Tough Week for Google
In addition to dropping out of the running for JEDI, Google on Monday said it would shut down its Google+ social network after a vulnerability exposed the personal data of approximately 500,000 users.
And just days before, now former Google Cloud exec Amir Hermelin posted on Medium that the company made mistakes in the early days of Google Cloud Platform (GCP) by not pursuing enterprise customers and chasing the competition, namely Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. “Neither AWS or Azure had anything like it [GCP], but we had to divert too many resources to satisfy customers that were asking for features similar to what our competitors offered at the time,” Hermelin wrote.
Google has since changed its tune. At the Google Cloud Next event this summer both Pichai and Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene touted GCP as the best public cloud for businesses. “Google is an enterprise company,” Greene said, adding that the public cloud’s AI and security features give it an edge over the competition.
Google’s public cloud services, however, still lag far behind No. 1 Amazon and No. 2 Microsoft in terms of revenue and market share. And last year it slipped to No. 4 among global infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) public cloud vendors behind Alibaba Cloud, according to Gartner.
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