Oct 9, 2018

Google withdraws its Pentagon cloud bid

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Google announced Monday it won’t bid on the Pentagon’s $10 billion cloud contract because of concerns the work wouldn't align with its artificial intelligence ethical principles, which hold that its software shouldn't be used to cause harm to people or violate human rights. Federal News Network’s Jason Miller first reported Google's move.

The bigger picture: Google has lately faced a series of conflicts between those ethical principles and major business opportunities, including a now-canceled AI drone project with the Pentagon and a secretive plan to launch a search engine in China. Just last week, Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai, met with Pentagon officials to smooth over these tensions, according to The Washington Post.

What's next: The move comes days before the deadline for cloud bid submission and just as Microsoft is announcing bolstered cloud support for government data.

  • This leaves Amazon Web Services and Microsoft as the two most likely winners of the bidding war, per FNN. Microsoft and AWS have higher clearances to handle government data than Google, and AWS has long been viewed by competition as the Pentagon’s favored contender.

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Scoop: Inside the Trump campaign's big hedge on Facebook

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Trump campaign has invested most of its advertising budget to date on Facebook, testing thousands of versions of ads per day to maximize its spending.

But behind the scenes, a source familiar with the campaign tells Axios, the thinking has shifted: "As everyone can see, we still have strong spending on Facebook, but the percentage of our total media budget [on Facebook] is shrinking."

Trump's revenge tour has the House in its sights

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Contributor

In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections — buoyed by Republican control of both chambers — President Trump viewed campaigning for the House as a lower-tier priority and instead poured his energy into rallying for the Senate.

But after the GOP reckoning in 2018, and experiencing firsthand how damaging a Democratic-led House has been to him, Trump is now personally invested in helping Republicans regain the majority in November, several people familiar with his thinking tell Axios.

Pelosi warns U.S. allies against working with China's Huawei

Nancy Pelosi, Feb. 16. Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday cautioned U.S. allies against allowing Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to develop their 5G networks, arguing at the Munich Security Conference that doing so is akin to “choosing autocracy over democracy," CNBC reports.

Why it matters: Pelosi's hawkish stance marks a rare area of agreement with the Trump administration, which believes Huawei is a national security threat because the Chinese government may be capable of accessing its equipment for espionage.

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