Google has a new executive to pitch its cloud business to Uncle Sam — a big market for the internet giant wrought with internal tension.
The Alphabet Inc. unit recently hired Mike Daniels, an executive from Salesforce.com Inc., as vice president for global public sector cloud sales, according to the company.
It’s a difficult job. Google lags behind rivals Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in selling to the U.S. government, which is using more cloud-computing services. The search giant came late to the sector, leaving it without some of the credentials necessary to sell to public agencies with the largest budgets, such as the Defense Department.
Amazon has secured several government cloud deals, including one with the CIA, while Microsoft is strong in government software. One Google win, an AI contract with the Pentagon called Project Maven, was allowed to lapse after staff protests. Google also declined to bid on the $10 billion Defense JEDI contract.
Before Salesforce, Daniels spent nine years in public sector sales at Oracle Corp. Thomas Kurian, the new head of Google Cloud, is also an Oracle veteran. And he has started his tenure by bringing in experienced hands from the enterprise software world, such as Robert Enslin.
A Google spokeswoman praised Daniels’ 25 years of industry experience. “Mike has a well-established reputation in the industry and brings a wealth of experience to the Google Cloud team,” she said in a statement. Daniels replaces Aileen Black, who left the role leading government sales earlier this year.
After the Maven debacle, Google released ethics principles that the company said would dictate its contracts, but didn’t rule out military work. The Defense Department recently opened an $8 billion contract to provide work collaboration software. Google hasn’t said if it’s bidding on that contract.