Defense Secretary says $10B Pentagon cloud contract 'conducted fairly,' despite Amazon dispute

Daniel Fowler
November 17, 2019

After awarding a sought-after 10-year, $10 billion defense contract to Microsoft, the U.S. Department of Defense is facing protests from Amazon, claiming that it was passed on due to President Trump's personal bias against CEO Jeff Bezos.

"I am confident it was conducted freely and fairly without any type of outside influence", he told reporters in the South Korean capital Seoul.

Amazon has filed an intention to appeal the US Department of Defense's decision to give a major contract to Microsoft.

The challenge from Amazon comes at a time when President Donald Trump frequently attacks the company and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, on Twitter, accusing Amazon of not paying its fair share of taxes or that the Bezos-owned Washington Post covers his administration unfairly.

In a statement to ZDNet, an AWS spokesperson said: "We believe it's critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence". "Out of an abundance of caution to avoid any concerns regarding his impartiality, Secretary Esper has delegated decision-making concerning the JEDI Cloud program" to Deputy Secretary David Norquist, the spokesman said in a statement.

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract has been a hotly contested and acrimonious process among Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, IBM and Oracle.

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Washington- Retail giant Amazons Cloud arm Amazon Web Services (AWS) has made it official to protest the USA governments decision to award the prestigious $10 billion Pentagon Cloud project to Microsoft - a move that has "deficiencies, errors and unmistakable bias".

Microsoft faced its dangle inside of complaints after it received a $480 million Military contract in 2018 aiming to present United States squaddies "elevated lethality" by equipping them with the company's HoloLens augmented-fact headset. "And we're looking at it very seriously".

"I think when you have a sitting president who's willing to publicly show his disdain for a company and the leader of a company, it's very hard for government agencies, including the DoD, to make an objective decision without fear of reprisal", Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy said at an employee meeting reported on by The Federal Times.

Microsoft chief Satya Nadella and Amazon's Bezos are "laser focused" on what has the potential to be a $100 billion market for government projects, according to Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives. IBM and Oracle were previously eliminated from the contract process, which they both protested, but lost, in court. These matters need to be looked into and rectified, the company said.

Amazon was long thought to be the front-runner in the competition for the huge military contract. It is created to consolidate the department's cloud-computing infrastructure and modernize its technology systems.

Amazon, one of the world's most valuable companies, has expanded from its origins in e-commerce to cloud services, streaming media, artificial intelligence and other ventures. For AWS, which garnered around $9 billion in revenue during Q3, it would have been smaller.

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