Microsoft Corp, one of the world’s most well-known software giants, has officially been awarded the cloud computing contract from the Pentagon.
The US Department of Defence (DoD) had announced on Friday, beating Amazon.com Inc for the $10 billion contracts.
The selection process for this contract was a long, mired one, indeed. Conflict of interest allegations and even the US president, Donald Trump, has slowed the process down. Trump, rather famously, has a knife out for Amazon. This is especially true for its founder, Jeff Bezos. While the reasons for that is worth its own article, it’s caused the President to take shots at Amazon ever since. In August, Trump had made a statement that his administration was reviewing Amazon’s bid. The official reason given for this was complaints from other companies, but whether or not that’s true is up for debate.
The so-called JEDI contract, or the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure cloud, is one of several moves from the Pentagon. The Pentagon itself is taking strides to digitally modernize to increase their technological prowess. JEDI, in particular, is to increase access to both data and cloud technology to military troops, both in combat zones and remote operational theatres.
The contract award process was put into doubt by Oracle Corp. This was due to someone who worked on the project is a former Amazon employee. The employee in question recused himself from the project, leaving the Defence Department to go back to Amazing Web Services (AWB).
AWB, when the news came, sent a spokesman to release a statement. Within it, the company expresses its surprise at the conclusion. AWS continued, stating that an in-depth assessment based purely on comparative offerings would’ve yielded a different result. AWS is even considering options of protest, though how effective that will be is doubtful at best.
Guy Snodgrass, retired Navy Commander, will publish a book on the 29th that has relevant information about the contract. Within it, the book alleges that Trump called former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, telling him to “screw Amazon” by way of refusing their bid.
Mattis, in turn, told the other Pentagon officials that they weren’t going to do that. He affirmed that the selection would be “by the book” in both the legal and ethical sense.
This mindset was affirmed by the Pentagon when it was announced that Microsoft would be awarded the contract. In a statement, they said that all the offers were treated fairly, evaluated consistently by the given criteria, and verified by the DoD Inspector General.
Microsoft enjoyed the news with a 3% increase in shares, totaling up to $144.98 in after-hours trading. Amazon shares suffered relatively slightly, going down 0.92% to $1 745.12
Whether or not Trump had any real influence to change the course of the selection is up for debate. It’s a well-documented fact that Donald Trump has given out outrageous orders, and the top officers who agreed to it simply turned around and proclaimed they weren’t after Trump had left.