Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene has been the biggest advocate internally of the cloud unit’s work with the Department of Defense, which includes providing artificial intelligence tech for use in military drones, according to this Bloomberg story. That contract has prompted a backlash inside Google: Gizmodo reported on Monday about a dozen employees had quit in protest. In some ways, making the case for the DoD deal may be a bigger challenge for Ms. Greene than catching up with cloud market leaders Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. That’s because Ms. Greene must package Google Cloud’s drone work in a way that is palatable to Google employees who are ethically opposed to developing tech for the military.
Yet Ms. Greene has good reason to excited about the commercial potential of the DoD project. The $600 million deal AWS inked in 2013 with the Central Intelligence Agency helped solidify the cloud unit’s status as a bona fide enterprise company, paving the way for additional cloud business with government agencies and large companies. If Google Cloud’s work with the DoD goes well, it’s conceivable that it could expand over time to become a significant revenue driver.