The Department of Defense is standing by its decision to award Microsoft a $10 billion cloud computing contract, which was fiercely contested between the giant and Amazon. The DoD sought to investigate if there were any discrepancies in the award of the contract and sees no wrongdoing so far.
The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) is one of the most high-profile defense contracts by the US Military in recent years. It’s just not the $10 billion value that catches the eye, but the contract was also followed with keen interest by the White House, including president Trump who has an open feud with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
The DoD determined in its investigation that the proposal presented by Microsoft offers the best value for the government. But the implementation of the deal won’t start yet. Just February this year, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction against the contract after a lawsuit was filed by Amazon.
The e-commerce giant, which also runs one of the biggest cloud computing services in the world, notes that it was sidelined due to the perceived animosity towards its CEO Jeff Bezos by president Donald Trump. The company argues also that the process of awarding the contract to Microsoft had “clear deficiencies, errors, and bias.”
But it looks very unlikely the DoD will reverse course. The US military is planning to use the JEDI for advanced computing needs including artificial intelligence and machine learning, storage, and other important projects. Microsoft was awarded this contract in October 2019. However, this came barely months after the president noted he was looking into the bidding process, something that raised concerns about political interference in the whole process.
IBM and Oracle were also on the running to secure the lucrative deal. However, they were both removed from contention early on, leaving Amazon and Microsoft as the two main contenders. Oracle did file a lawsuit challenging the bidding process but it never got anywhere.
Microsoft notes that it’s ready to begin work on the contract, adding that it appreciated the due diligence investigation by the Department of Defense. The company also felt that the conclusion by the investigation that Microsoft offered the best value for the government is indeed true.
But Amazon, on the other hand, notes that the decision isn’t fair. In its official blog, Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing branch of Amazon, called the investigation by the DoD “nothing more than an attempt to validate a flawed, biased, and politically corrupted decision.” The company also added that it intends to pursue more legal action to fairly resolve the matter.
Amazon believes that there was undue influence on the Department of Defense by the White House, something the company argues is a gross abuse of ethics. The White House has yet to weigh in on these accusations. But it’s clear that President Trump is not the biggest fan of Jeff Bezos and has said it many times before.