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DoD Reaffirms the JEDI Contract

by Ruchi Gupta
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DoD Reaffirms the JEDI Contract

DoD Reaffirms the JEDI Contract

Microsoft, It Is! DoD Reaffirms the JEDI Contract Award Despite Amazon Protestations

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) remains the Defense Department’s favorite in the controversial Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract. The Pentagon decided on Friday after a legal battle that has lasted for ten months. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) was MSFT’s major rival to the deal, and it had sought legal redress in court after losing the bid in October 2019.

The Pentagon first requested information about upgrading its massive IT infrastructure to cloud-based in 2017. However, controversies emerged almost immediately, mainly when the DoD chose to work with a single could services provider rather than multiple companies. The struggle to win the contract, which has been estimated to be on the upside of $10 billion, almost turned ugly after accusations of conflict of interest emerged late 2018.

Trump was accused of swaying the decision.

In April 2020, the inspector general issued a 317-page report denouncing accusations that President Trump had a hand in snatching JEDI from Amazon. According to the report, the watchdog could not find evidence to support the argument that Microsoft won the JEDI contract because of Trump’s interference. However, the report did not shy from lamenting that the White House only offered limited cooperation.

Before the Pentagon selected its preferred partner in the cloud-computing project, Amazon Web Services (AWS) was widely seen as the favorite. AWS is Amazon’s cloud-computing unit. But Trump appeared to be throwing cold water on AWS’s bid barely a month before the Pentagon’s decision when he told a press pool at the White House that “We’re getting tremendous complaints from other companies. Some of the greatest companies in the world are complaining about it.” Microsoft was one of the companies that Trump named.

As Microsoft rejoices, Amazon is bitter.

Microsoft acclaimed the DoD’s decision and said that it was ready to begin working on the project. Contrariwise, Amazon reiterated its conviction that the DoD failed to “address the numerous material evaluation errors outlined in our protest, ensure a fair and level playing field, and ultimately, expedite the conclusion of litigation.”

Amazon disagrees explicitly with the DoD’s evaluation of the project, terming it “flawed.” The company is convinced that President Trump uses the DoD’s budget to “pursue his own personal and political ends.” For this reason, according to Amazon’s statement, the company is not going to back down from pursuing a “fair, objective, and impartial review.”

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