Published: Sat, February 22, 2020
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

US Department of Defense awards JEDI contract to Microsoft, snubbing Amazon's AWS

US Department of Defense awards JEDI contract to Microsoft, snubbing Amazon's AWS

It is also likely to please Donald Trump, who has made Amazon a personal target as part of a feud with its owner, Jeff Bezos, and who recently promised to scrutinise the bidding process "closely" after receiving complaints from "great companies". Meanwhile, Amazon is said to be "surprised" by this outcome.

The 10-year contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program, better known as JEDI, ultimately will see all military branches sharing information in a system boosted by artificial intelligence. Specifically, JEDI will provide the U.S. forces with better access to data and the cloud from battlefields and other remote locations. The contract was awarded by the Washington Headquarters Services and is a firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract.

In a statement from a spokesperson provided to media, AWS said it was surprised at the decision.

"AWS is the clear leader in cloud computing, and a detailed assessment purely on the comparative offerings clearly lead to a different conclusion".

AWS is considering options for protesting the award, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Pentagon's pausing of the contract bid process raised concerns that the president intervened in the awarding of the defense contract, which would be a violation of federal acquisition laws, according to The Washington Post.

Officials have complained of having outdated computer systems and being unable to access files or share information as quickly as they might be able to in the private sector.

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Some companies were concerned that a single award would give the victor an unfair advantage in follow-on work.

The JEDI award "continues our strategy of a multi-vendor, multi-cloud environment", it added. Later, we reported that Defense Secretary Mark Esper has agreed to review the contract, putting its assignment on hold. IBM had previously bid for the contract but had already been eliminated from the competition. The White House did not respond to a request for comment. Amazon was accused of malpractices related to this contract process and because of which Defense Secretary reviewed the contract at the last moment. "We'll take a very strong look at it". "This will be done by the book, both legally and ethically".

"This contract will address critical and urgent unmet warfighter requirements for modern cloud infrastructure", the Pentagon said in a statement announcing the decision on Friday.

In its statement, the Pentagon said all offers "were treated fairly".

In the Q&A session with employees last year, Nadella, who earned $42.9 million in total compensation for the fiscal year 2019 - 66 per cent raise from the prior fiscal year, was joined by Microsoft President Brad Smith.

The Pentagon says it plans to award future cloud deals to multiple contractors, noting that over the past two years it has awarded more than $11 billion (€9.93) in ten separate cloud-computing contracts.

Industry analysts predicted that Amazon Web Services was the frontrunner to win the contract, although others have said that Microsoft Azure has grown quickly as well and invested significant resources in improving its government cloud. Articles appear on euronews.com for a limited time.

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