Last month, Microsoft was awarded the controversial $10 billion war cloud project, the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) program. Redmond beat Amazon Web Services (AWS) to the contract. However, there were rumblings that Amazon would challenge the decision and has confirmed this by reportedly filing a protest.
Winning the JEDI contract from the Pentagon has been a complicated process. Other companies were removed for the running for simply lacking the cloud infrastructure necessary. Some of those companies, notably Oracle and IBM called for the contract to be split amongst vendors.
Oracle pursued legal action over the matter, claiming Amazon had an unfair advantage. It argued a company employee who previously worked with the Department of Defense could give them an inside track.
So, when Microsoft won the JEDI deal it was viewed as a major win for the company in the cloud market. According to the Federal Times, Amazon is unhappy with the process. In response the company has filed an official protest with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
This may seem like Amazon simply being bitter over the decision, but Amazon feels it has a case. AWS CEO Andy Jassy was unhappy with the White House getting involved with the bidding process late into the decision making.
President Donald Trump pushed for additional oversight of the project before it was awarded. Trump has a long-standing problem with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Many believe the president actively pushed for Microsoft over Amazon. Jassy believes this is problematic and questions the decision:
“I think when you have a sitting president who’s willing to publicly show his disdain for a company and the leader of a company, it’s very difficult for government agencies including the DoD to make an objective decision without fear of reprisal.”
“We feel pretty strongly that it wasn’t adjudicated fairly. I think that if you do any thorough, apples-to-apples, objective comparison of AWS versus Microsoft you don’t come out deciding that they’re comparable platforms. Most of our customers will tell us that we’re about 24 months ahead of Microsoft in functionality and maturity.”
Since being awarded the JEDI contract, Microsoft has remained relatively silent. Undoubtedly the company expected Amazon to appeal the decision and has not commented on the latest development.