Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has sharply criticized Google over its decision to ditch US military contracts and insisted Amazon will continue to work with the American government, saying: “This is a great country and it does need to be defended.”
Speaking at the Wired 25 conference in San Francisco, California on Monday, the online retail giant’s chief exec strongly defended the technology industry’s work for the American military. “If big tech companies are going to turn their back on the US Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble,” he said.
The technology industry has been wrestling with its conscience in recent months as workers become increasingly politically active. Google employees revolted over a contract it held to analyze aerial drone imagery (Project Maven), leading the company to decide not to renew it. And a recent Medium post, purportedly by anonymous Microsoft employees, opposes the company’s bid for a $10 billion Pentagon “JEDI” cloud computing contract, which Google has already opted not to bid for.
Amazon is also bidding for the JEDI contract — and unlike some of the other tech giants, it has no intention of backing out.
“We are going to continue to support the [Department of Defense]. And I think we should,” Bezos said on Monday, in a criticism clearly aimed at Google. “It doesn’t make any sense to me… One of the jobs of the senior leadership team is to make the right decision even when it’s unpopular. If big tech companies are going to turn their back on the US Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble.”
He added: “I like this country … know everybody is very conflicted about the current politics in this country and so on — this country is a gem. And it’s amazing. It’s the best place in the world. It’s the place where people want to come. There aren’t other countries where everyone is trying to get in. I’d let them in if it were up to me. I like them. I want all of them in.
“This is a great country and it does need to be defended. ”
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