According to an upcoming book, Donald Trump tried to directly influence the winner of the $10 billion JEDI cloud contract. Though Amazon was long the favorite, tech companies began to voice their opinions about the unfairness last year, calling for a multi-vendor solution.
In his upcoming release, former Defense communications director Guy Snodgrass says Trump directed Mattis to “screw Amazon” out of the contract. This took place in the summer of 2018, around the same time as competitors began to speak out.
Snodgrass says Mattis pushed back on the request, wanting to follow the contract “by the book”, but Microsoft was nevertheless awarded the $10 billion last week. In July 2019, Bloomberg reported that Trump was preparing to become directly involved in the contract.
However, in August, the Pentagon opened an internal review. Among other things, a “multidisciplinary team” investigated allegations of misconduct and conflicts of interest. Oracle previously argued that a former defense official working for Amazon gave it an unfair advantage.
Amazon is reportedly mulling a protest against the outcome of the decision. Exactly how much influence Trump had over the contract is unclear at this time.
“We’re surprised about this conclusion,” an AWS spokesperson said. “AWS is the clear leader in cloud computing, and a detailed assessment purely on the comparative offerings clearly lead to a different conclusion.”
Meanwhile, Microsoft highlighted its history of work with the defense department and its strong security. As well as JEDI, the company is currently providing HoloLens 2 to the US Army, Office 365 to the interior department, a $1.76 billion Pentagon contract, and an $8 billion DoD contract.