Amazon has succeeded in preventing Microsoft from working on the controversial Pentagon JEDI cloud infrastructure contract. Moreover, the Department of Defense has decided to shut down the $10 billion “war cloud” project entirely. The decision comes following more than a year of legal action from Amazon to stop the project after Microsoft won the project.
Before dipping into what is a messy history surrounding this project, it is worth noting Amazon's pursuit has been a noble one. Amazon was not on a quest to stop a highly contentious cloud project that even Microsoft employees were angered by. No, the company was throwing its toys out of the pram because it did not win the coveted contract.
Amazon was not worried about the project when it was one of the bidding companies. It was only when Microsoft won the contract did Amazon become concerned. Still, the DoD's decision to terminate JEDI is a big win for the company.
If you're unfamiliar with JEDI, it is the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project. Microsoft's cloud services will underpin an overhaul of the DoD's computing infrastructure. Microsoft was originally awarded the contract a year ago.
Amazon did not take the situation lying down and immediately started legal proceedings to stop Microsoft. Amazon's argument was always resting on the idea the process was unfair. While Amazon did not seek the multi-cloud approach some rivals did, AWS thought it was not given a fair chance.
Through 2020, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, and the DoD fought a legal battle over JEDI. Amazon believed politics played a role in the decision. The company thought Donald Trump played a role in the outcome and AWS wanted Trump to testify during the investigation. During the year, there were allegations and wins for both sides, including Microsoft once again winning the project.
Microsoft and Amazon also shot verbal barbs at each other. Through a series of injunctions stopping the project from starting, Amazon halted the contract long enough for cloud technology to move on. The capabilities of cloud infrastructure have increased beyond what the JEDI project called for.
If Microsoft had been working on the project since 2019, those improvements would have been weaved into the infrastructure. However, with any project needing to start from scratch, the DoD has simply decided to cancel the $10 billion deal.
In a press release, the department reflected on the changing tech demands, saying, “due to evolving requirements, increased cloud conversancy, and industry advances, the JEDI Cloud contract no longer meets its needs.”
Of course, the DoD still wants to overhaul its infrastructure to move into cloud technology, it just will not be through the JEDI project. It is expected another multi-billion contracts will be created that reflect the modern cloud demands the department will face. Yes, Microsoft and Amazon will once again be at the front of the line in the bidding process.
Perhaps the DoD will take a multi-vendor approach instead of risking another failed project.
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