When Google abandoned a Pentagon project in 2018, Microsoft and Amazon took over

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Microsoft logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Project Maven was a Pentagon initiative aimed at developing technology capable of distinguishing objects more accurately from drone views.
  • Google was linked to the project until 2018, when it quit due to its staff being unhappy with their company aiding the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in the development of warfare technology.
  • Based on a new report, it seems that when Google left, Microsoft and Amazon stepped in.

When it comes to the giants of tech, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft all have history with the U.S. government and its Department of Defense (DoD). They also have a history of fighting for those entities' business and filling in for each other when the opportunity is right.

Take, for example, the recent situation wherein the Pentagon awarded Microsoft its JEDI contract, which Amazon then litigated aggressively enough against to crumble the whole deal, spawning a new cloud contract from the Pentagon that both it and Microsoft could potentially share. That's one example of how these government deals are prized by big companies. However, according to contracts discovered by Tech Inquiry's Jack Poulson, there's another major example in recent memory: Project Maven (via Forbes).

Google left Project Maven in 2018 after its employees expressed dissatisfaction with the company building warfare technology for the DoD. In this case, the tech in question was aimed at enhancing object distinguishability from drone views. Based on the contracts discovered by Poulson, it seems Microsoft and Amazon picked up the pieces and helped the Pentagon continue where Google had left off.

Microsoft and Amazon have a public history of wanting Pentagon projects. Beyond JEDI and the upcoming Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract, Microsoft's also had success with its IVAS project, wherein it's been making specialty HoloLens headsets for the U.S. Army.

Robert Carnevale

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.