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Microsoft HoloLens. Photo: Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images

Microsoft won a $480 million contract to supply the U.S. Army with 100,000 HoloLens headsets for combat missions and training, Bloomberg reports.

The big picture: Deals between tech companies and the U.S. military are common but increasingly controversial, as employees raise questions about the ethics of applying advanced technology to warfare. Just last month, Google dropped out of the bidding process for the Pentagon’s $10 billion JEDI cloud-computing contract. Microsoft is still competing for that deal.

What they're saying: The HoloLens contract is to help the Department of Defense to “increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy," per a government description of the program acquired by Bloomberg.

  • A Microsoft spokesman told Axios, "Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions. This new work extends our longstanding, trusted relationship with the Department of Defense to this new area."
  • Microsoft president Brad Smith has said previously that it's better to be a part of the conversation as the military adopts new technologies than to opt out.

Because of the deal, the Army will become one of the key customers for Microsoft’s augmented-reality goggles.

  • The Army said the winning bidder would be expected to deliver 2,500 headsets within two years, and exhibit the capacity for full-scale production, Bloomberg writes.
  • Microsoft's product will include thermal sensing and night vision and be used in both training and on the battlefield.

Go deeper

Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 18. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
2 hours ago - Health

Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate

Golden Gate Park. Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty

Counties around the San Francisco Bay Area will adopt California’s new regional stay-at-home order amid surges in cases and ICU hospitalizations, health officials said Friday.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a three-week stay-at-home order on Thursday that would go into effect in regions with less than 15% ICU capacity. Despite the Bay Area’s current 25.3% ICU capacity, health officials from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the city of Berkeley are moving ahead with a shelter-in-place mandate in the hopes of reducing risk.