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A new chapter is opening in the US Defense Department’s $10 billion JEDI cloud contract. You may remember Microsoft had initially won the contract before Amazon started legal proceedings and the contract was shut down. Now the Defense Department is asking Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Google and other cloud providers to start bidding again.

When the department scrapped the contract, it said too much time had passed as Microsoft and Amazon battled in the courts. Technology had moved on and something new was needed. So, now the JEDI contract is known as the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability contract.

While JEDI was to be given to a single cloud provider, the new $10 billion contract is a multi-vendor, Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) initiative. In other words, it will be awarded to more than one cloud company. The Defense Department hopes this will remove any controversy between vendors.

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At the moment, the department admits that AWS and Microsoft Azure are the only current US platforms that “appear to be capable of meeting all of the DoD’s requirements at this time, including providing cloud services at all levels of national security classification.”

Despite this, the government “intends to award [contracts] to all Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) that demonstrate the capability to meet DoD’s requirements.”

History

Microsoft was originally awarded the contract in 2019

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. During the year, there were allegations and wins for both sides, including Microsoft once again winning the project.

However, as Amazon once again stalled the project, the DoD cancelled it.

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