Pentagon Reconsiders $10 Billion Cloud Contract With Microsoft

The US Department of Defense is reconsidering a multi-billion dollar contract it would initially give to Microsoft. The military is now considering giving that contract to Amazon after all. The latter company found the earlier decision ‘politically motivated’.

It concerns a contract with a value of ten billion dollars to provide Defense with cloud services for ten years. The so-called Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud project or JEDI is intended to give the army better access to data from, for example, battlefields or in other areas. The ministry says in a lawsuit that it is “reconsidering” the decision to award the contract. It has 120 days to do so. Officially, the reconsideration still has to be approved by a judge, but most likely it will go ahead. According to the Pentagon, the review is related to “technical challenges exposed by Amazon Web Services,” media such as the New York Times reported.

The reconsideration is the result of a lawsuit that Amazon filed against the tender. Amazon was one of the companies participating in the tender alongside Microsoft. For a long time, it seemed that Amazon had a better chance of winning the tender with AWS. However, in October last year, the ministry decided to go for Microsoft, mainly because of the lower price. Amazon said it was surprised at the time. “An in-depth comparison of the various offerings, based purely on the content of the services, should clearly lead to a different conclusion,” the company said at the time.

Amazon suspects that the choice for Microsoft was politically motivated by President Trump. For years, he has criticized Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who now also owns The Washington Post. Trump has spoken out against Amazon’s tender on more than one occasion. The Pentagon also denies with the current reconsideration that Trump had any influence over the decision.