Last month the Pentagon awarded a $10 billion cloud-computing contract to Microsoft after months of three of the largest cloud-computing players companies vying for the contract. JEDI stands for Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure and is one of the initiatives the U.S. government is taking to modernize its critical computer infrastructure.
When the Pentagon announced Microsoft was the winning contractor on October 25, many in government and industry were stunned as it was widely believed Amazon was well in the lead for the contract. As MarketWatch reports, the belief that Amazon would win it was boded by the fact that Amazon Web Services is already used by over 5,000 government agencies and the company already has a $600 million cloud computing contract with the CIA. That’s to say nothing of the fact that the government awarded Microsoft vendors a different defense contract worth $7.6 billion just two months earlier.
So why did Microsoft win out over Amazon? That’s exactly what Amazon wants to know. In a statement to MarketWatch, an Amazon spokesman said:
AWS is uniquely experienced and qualified to provide the critical technology the U.S. military needs, and remains committed to supporting the DoD’s modernization efforts. We also believe it’s critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence. Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias—and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified.
In July, months before a winning contractor was announced, President Trump had ordered a review of the JEDI contract. Trump has had a long-running beef with Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, which is a frequent Trump critic.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2019
MarketWatch says that in August Defense Secretary Mark Esper did review the selection process and reported “he was certain that the award of that contract to Microsoft had been done fairly” when Esper made updated comments on Friday.