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Amazon Will ‘Continue to Support’ Defense Department, Jeff Bezos Says

Spencer Soper
Amazon Will ‘Continue to Support’ Defense Department, Jeff Bezos Says

(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos said his company "will continue to support" the U.S. Defense Department, drawing a contrast with cloud-services rival Google, which has said it won’t seek some military contracts following protests from its employees.

Amazon Web Services is widely seen as the favorite to win a Pentagon cloud-computing contract worth as much as $10 billion. Alphabet Inc.’s Google last week said it would no longer compete for that work, which involves transitioning massive amounts of Defense Department data to a commercially operated cloud system. Other companies vying for the accord are IBM, Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Corp.

"If U.S. tech companies turn their backs on the Department of Defense, this country is in trouble," Bezos said Monday at the Wired 25 Summit in San Francisco, where he was a surprise speaker. "This is a great country and it does need to be defended."

Google’s announcement that it was dropping out of the running for the winner-take-all deal came months after the company decided not to renew its contract with a Pentagon artificial intelligence program, after extensive employee protests about the internet giant working with the military. Google then released a set of principles designed to evaluate what kind of artificial intelligence projects it would pursue.

--With assistance from Sarah Frier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Spencer Soper in Seattle at ssoper@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Molly Schuetz

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