It's hard to keep track of the tit for tat battle Microsoft and Amazon are currently engaged in over Microsoft winning the Pentagon's $10 billion JEDI war cloud contract. Recently, a Department of Defense (DoD) report suggested the awarding of the contract to Microsoft fell within its guidelines.
In response to the report, Microsoft hit out at Amazon and it's legal battle to halt the project. Not to be outdone, Amazon has responded and said once again the company feels Microsoft was unfairly handed the contract.
Late last year, Microsoft won the Pentagon's controversial $10 billion war cloud Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract. In doing so, the company defeated its main cloud rival, Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amazon did not take the situation lying down and immediately started legal proceedings to stop Microsoft.
Yesterday, Microsoft confirmed Amazon is once again seeking to stop the JEDI project through legal action. The company filed a confidential protest with the DoD to stop the contract and attempting to restart the bidding process.
Amazon Hits Back
In response, Drew Herdener, vice president of worldwide communications at Amazon, hit out at Microsoft in a blog post. He says Amazon Web Services will push the legal fight as far as it can and won't back down:
“Since we filed our protest, we've been clear in our intent: we don't think the JEDI award was adjudicated fairly, we think political interference blatantly impacted the award decision, and we're committed to ensuring the evaluation receives a fair, objective, and impartial review.
Recently, Microsoft has published multiple self-righteous and pontificating blog posts that amount to nothing more than misleading noise intended to distract those following the protest. To save you some space (and time)”.
Herdener points to several problems with Microsoft winning the project, including a flawed evaluation process, a judge suggesting Microsoft's bid was defective, and the right for AWS to continue its action. He also said AWS is more suited to the project that Microsoft Azure:
“Microsoft is doing an awful lot of posturing. We understand why. Nobody knowledgeable and objective believes they have the better offering. And, this has been further underscored by their spotty operational performance during the COVID-19 crisis (and in 2020 YTD).
“To be clear, we won't back down on this front regardless of whether Microsoft chooses to try to bully its way to an unjust victory. We also won't allow blatant political interference or inferior technology to become an acceptable standard.”
Some cloud 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. That “inside track” did not work in Amazon's favor by the end of the bidding process.
In a Microsoft blog post last month, Deputy General Counsel Jon Palmer criticized Amazon. He said Amazon's bid was simply too high. He added the company's pursuit of legal action is the corporate equivalent of sour grapes.
“Amazon would have you believe that it lost the award because of bias at the highest levels of government. But Amazon, alone, is responsible for the pricing it offered. As the government explained in its brief: “AWS and Microsoft each had a fair chance to build pricing for the entire procurement, based on their overall business pricing.” Amazon did build its pricing for the entire procurement, and it wasn't good enough to win. And now it wants a re-do. That's not good for our war-fighters. That's not good for confidence in public procurement. It's not good for anybody but Amazon.”