Sold! US Military buys 100,000 HoloLens sets for $480 million

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Microsoft has won a major contract to supply prototype Augmented Reality (AR) equipment (i.e. HoloLens) to the US Department of Defense (DoD). This is on top of the work it is already doing on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) for the US government. Read on to find out more.

HoloLens

Microsoft makes case for contracts

It is well-known that Microsoft does not have the same problems working for the US government as some other companies, such as Google, might. In fact, following an open letter published on Medium by Microsoft employees, Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, made the case in this article last month, stating exactly why Microsoft was working with the US government, and why it would continue to do so.

Of course, having the president of a company stating that he believes a relationship with the US government is a good idea makes good business sense. After all, the DoD isn’t going to do business with a company that is not interested in a long-term commitment. That and the fact that the DoD has pretty much unlimited funds.

License to print money?

This most recent contract is for HoloLens headsets. What confuses me is that the headlines have been about the contract and not the cost. At $480 million. Okay, this is the American military we are talking about, but it still seems like $480 million is a serious amount of money. Mind you, that number pales into insignificance when compared to the budget for JEDI – $10 billion.

Will there be any sort of backlash to Microsoft for this latest news? Who knows? But the statement from Brad Smith has made it clear where he sees Microsoft’s priorities lie, and while he may have some sympathy for employees who are not happy about working for the military, I doubt he is going to do a Google any time in the near future.

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