“We reserve the right to refuse to serve any customer.” The same applies to Google, as is the usual notice in restaurants. Over the past few years, they have turned down the Pentagon, hacked immigration enforcement, and now add edits: oil and gas companies.
Sina Technology Zheng Jun from Silicon Valley, USA
Yesterday Google set another moral high point for the internet industry. They have vowed not to provide oil and gas companies with customized artificial intelligence tools in the future, to develop machine learning algorithms for them, and not to help them mine fossil fuels around the world. But in the spirit of the contract, Google will continue to execute its current cloud services contract with oil and gas giants.
Why is Google refusing to serve the oil and gas giant? The immediate cause is pressure from environmental agencies. Greenpeace released a report on Tuesday on how technology companies can help oil majors profit from the climate destruction, naming internet giants such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon for providing artificial intelligence and warehousing services to oil and gas giants such as Shell, BP and Exxon Mobil to help them locate and exploit oil and gas reserves.
For more than a decade, Greenpeace has been urging technology companies to actively contribute to tackling climate change and to put pressure on tech giants through protests and other activities. As soon as the report came out, Google responded. Greenpeace later praised Google’s commitment.
“While Google continues to pursue its current contract with oil and gas companies, which we expect them to terminate, we welcome Google’s decision not to offer customized solutions for oil and gas exploration,” said Elizabeth Jardim, Greenpeace’s US spokeswoman. We also hope that Microsoft and Amazon will quickly follow up and terminate their partnership with oil and gas companies. The contracts conflict with their stated climate goals and exacerbate the climate crisis. “
After Google’s announcement that it was abandoning the market, Microsoft and Amazon did not follow suit, but made their position clear.
“We agree that the world is facing an urgent carbon emissions problem, and we must do more to accelerate the pace of achieving the net zero carbon emissions target,” Microsoft said. But the reality is that the world’s energy sources are still coming from fossil fuels, and the world needs more energy as living standards rise around the world. This makes achieving the goal of zero carbon emissions the most complex transition in human history”. “We believe that the energy industry should have the right to use the same technology as other industries,” Amazon said directly. “
Obviously Microsoft and Amazon are not willing to give up the market. They also believe that the world is not yet able to give up fossil energy completely, oil and gas is still the world economy and people’s livelihood depends on the necessary industry, to pull black oil and gas companies is too extreme initiatives.
As a result, Greenpeace has expressed disappointment at the uncooperative attitude of Microsoft and Amazon, “Amazon CEO Bezos has just announced a $10 billion investment in earth funds to combat climate change, but unfortunately he has ignored Amazon’s continued use of artificial intelligence to support the oil and gas industry.” “
Let’s not mention whether Greenpeace’s call for internet giant La Black Oil and Gas is justified (at least not for the petrochemical industry, the world economy is absolutely collapsing) to look at the big three internet giants’ cloud computing business.
Although the three internet giants are all leaders in artificial intelligence, they have their own strong areas. Google has an absolute advantage in web search and mobile platforms, but in cloud computing and enterprise markets, there is a huge gap between them and Amazon and Microsoft. Simply put, Google is strong at 2C, while Seattle’s two giants are strong at 2B.
In the fourth quarter of last year, Google first reported revenue from its cloud computing business. Google Cloud generated $8.9 billion in revenue for the full year of 2019. By comparison, Amazon’s AWS generated $9.95 billion in revenue in one quarter. Microsoft does not disclose specific revenue for Azure. Microsoft’s Smart Cloud division includes not only cloud services, but also server products.
But amazon’s share of the market was 32.4 percent in the fourth quarter, microsoft Azure’s about 17.6 percent, Google’s 6 percent and Ali’s 5.4 percent, according to Canalys’ cloud services market. While Google is growing twice as fast as Amazon, revenue is currently only 18% of AWS.
In the big-business cloud computing market, Google’s competitiveness with Microsoft and Amazon is not at the same level. According to Greenpeace, Microsoft is a major cloud service provider for oil companies, and their artificial intelligence technology is used at all stages of oil exploration, while Amazon’s cloud services cooperation focuses on crude oil transportation, pipelines and storage. Their artificial intelligence has helped oil companies improve their ability to extract shale gas, especially in Texas and New Mexico. In this area, Google is already a small provider.
How much revenue did Google give up on this “black” oil company? Google Cloud generated about $65 million in revenue from the oil and gas industry last year, less than 1 percent of google cloud revenue, according to a Google spokesman. Google Cloud’s total revenue in 2019 was $8.9 billion, compared with $160.7 billion for Alphabet.
The oil and gas industry could spend $1.3 billion on cloud computing this year, according to HG Insights. Amazon and Microsoft are clearly reluctant to bow to Greenpeace and give up the market easily.
Cloud services are a new business for Google, with revenues of just 5.5 per cent, but for Microsoft and Amazon, which generate nearly $40bn in annual revenue and are growing rapidly, they certainly don’t want to put the brakes on their growth engines in exchange for the appreciation of environmental groups.
Perhaps more importantly, if Amazon and Microsoft voluntarily abandon the market in the face of protests this time, will there be more industries in the future that do not conform to the values of the radical left. And even Amazon and Microsoft won’t give up on the controversial U.S. military, let alone the oil industry.
This happened two years ago. In 2018, Google voluntarily abandoned Project Maven, the U.S. Department of Defense’s cloud service project, amid protests from employees. The high-tech weapons program, led by former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, provides cloud-based machine learning algorithms for U.S. military drones for target identification and has been used in the U.S. military’s fight against IS in 2017.
But when the secret project came to light in early 2018, it quickly sparked outrage among Google employees. They don’t want the model algorithms they’ve developed to be used as the army’s murder weapon. Google Cloud eventually announced that it would abandon the project and stop providing its own artificial intelligence to the U.S. military, following a joint protest by more than 4,000 employees and a call from academics. But the project is not big enough, at $9 million.
In addition to announcing that it was abandoning the classified military program, Google has voluntarily pulled out of a $10 billion bid for the Pentagon’s $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) project, citing reasons that it does not fit its artificial intelligence values. In fact, even if Google doesn’t pull out voluntarily, it’s unlikely to steal the project from the Seattle duo.
Although there were initial bids from IBM and Oracle, the final bidder for the project was undoubtedly Amazon and Microsoft. Finally, after the U.S. military awarded the project to Microsoft, the disgruntled Amazon filed a lawsuit against the federal government, arguing that President Trump’s retaliation against Bezos had affected the integrity of the government’s bid. The lawsuit is still ongoing and the project has been temporarily halted. Microsoft, which has swallowed a $10 billion bill, is certainly unhappy, accusing Amazon of losing the blame.
In 2019, Google employees renewed their call for Google to refuse to cooperate with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and not participate in the agency’s CBP cloud service program. With the Trump administration deporting illegal immigrants in large numbers, THE LAW ENFORCEMENT-LED ICE HAS BECOME A TARGET OF HATE AMONG MAINSTREAM PUBLIC OPINION AND LEFTISTS IN THE UNITED STATES. This cloud service project belongs to Amazon AWS. Not surprisingly, Amazon is already the us government’s largest cloud service provider, with a $600m cloud service list from the CIA.
Do Microsoft and Amazon employees protest the company’s service to the military and immigration authorities? Of course there are. Microsoft has also faced protests from a number of employees over the U.S. military’s offer of augmented reality technology and cloud services. But the attitude at the top was firm, and the opposition from the staff quickly subsided.
Both Microsoft CEO Nadella and CEO Brad Smith have made it clear that Microsoft cannot abandon the military project. In his official blog, Mr Smith stressed that employees who did not want to work for the military could change jobs. And Amazon, which has long suffered from strike protests from warehouse logistics workers over labor protection, certainly doesn’t care about internal pressure.
Why aren’t Microsoft and Amazon as “highly valued” as Google? Google has held the banner of “don’t do evil” from the start, and every time it is contested, it is judged at a moral high point, and environmental protection is one of the most important of all, only to keep up with the demands of the progressive left. Google achieved carbon neutrality as early as 2007, while Microsoft and Amazon pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030 and 2040.
While the two big internet giants, Microsoft and Amazon, are in Washington state, where the “left-dominated” Silicon Valley (as Zuckerberg said at a congressional hearing), Microsoft and Amazon are under much less pressure from public opinion, and their employees are less strongly valued and ownership,as they are aware that they work in a public company and are less likely to interfere in the company’s business interests.
Google, on the other hand, has promised to be transparent and equal to its employees, who are demanding more and more voice and are willing to participate in the company’s decision-making. When companies’ business interests conflict with their values, they are not afraid to protest publicly to express their grievances. In addition to these two incidents, Google employees have repeatedly staged informal strikes to pressure the company to step up its investigations into sexual harassment.