Much to Amazon’s dismay, the United States Department of Defense has decided to award the JEDI contract to Microsoft, while Amazon loses the fight once again
What is the JEDI contract?
No, it has nothing to do with the Skywalker family. JEDI is short for the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, a 10-year program intended to give the Defense Department the same sort of enterprise cloud capabilities than many large commercial entities enjoy, such as Amazon, Microsoft and Netflix.
The program would see that all military branches benefit from sharing information in a sophisticated cloud-based system supported by artificial intelligence.
The fight for the mandate
Many companies wanted to get their hands on the $10 billion contract, including Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, IBM and REAN Cloud. After some discussions in 2019, everyone thought that the deal was almost done and in the hands of Amazon, as Google had retreated for the contract was in conflict with some of its core values.
However, President Donald Trump asked for the contract to be placed on hold as he suspected favoritism towards Amazon. We cannot be sure of the veracity of these fact, but we do know that President Trump does not like Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, and vice versa. According to the latter, the President “used his power to screw Amazon out of the JEDI Contract”. Was the process improperly influenced?
Yet another year given to Microsoft
Despite Amazon’s effort, the contract has been attributed to Microsoft again. The Defense Department assured having examined both offer thoroughly, and still think that Microsoft has the best capabilities to serve their purpose. "Microsoft's proposal continues to represent the best value to the Government," the department said in a statement, "it is eager to begin delivering this capability to our men and women in uniform." A real blow to Amazon who looses both a very lucrative contract and a public battle against one of their most serious concurrent in the Cloud Services market.
“Another contract award based on politics and improper influence and not based on the relative strengths of the two offerings”, said Amazon to the Department of Defense.
Despite having gained the contract, Microsoft was not allowed to start working on the project for as long as Amazon’s legal challenge is not resolved. And unsurprisingly, Amazon does not feel like leaving without a fight, which will likely delay the project even more. It remains to see if the re-examination will be well-executed, and if it will indeed reveal unfair details.
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