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One of the safest businesses to be in is a government supplier, and it is a business Microsoft is currently pursuing very successfully.
Microsoft has been bidding for the US Department of Defence’s $10 billion JEDI contract to provide all the cloud-based infrastructure for the whole service, and recently won a $480 million contract to provide an advanced Mixed Reality headset to be used by the military in battlefield settings.
Now Microsoft has racked up another win, securing a five-year contract worth $1.76 billion for delivering enterprise services for the Defense Department, Coast Guard and intelligence services, the Pentagon said on Friday.
Microsoft had earlier expressed unconditional support for the US military, saying Microsoft is “going to provide the U.S. military with access to the best technology … all the technology we create. Full stop.”
Some Microsoft employees have objected against their work being used to “increase lethality”, such as in the case of the HoloLens contract for example.
Microsoft’s chief counsel, Brad Smith said while he would “engage to address the ethical issues that new technology is creating,” but reiterated “We want Silicon Valley to know just how ethical and honorable a tradition the military has.”
The $10 billion JEDI contract has not been awarded yet, but many industry analysts feel Amazon’s AWS is the front runner. Others, however, feel that Microsoft’s increasing closeness to the Department of Defense is being discounted, including the DoD’s likely wish to use the same technology provider for the desktops and cloud services.
In an earlier blog post, Smith said in many cases employees that had objections could seek alternate assignments inside Microsoft.