It’s not surprising, but as of today, November 14, it is official: Amazon AWS is protesting the U.S. Department of Defense’s award of its $10 billion cloud contract to Microsoft. AWS made the company’s decision to file paperwork to challenge the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) public inside the company during an all-hands meeting on November 14, as reported by the Federal Times.
According to a video the Federal Times said it had seen, AWS filed the required paperwork on Friday last week. Fedscoop confirmed this, saying the paperwork was filed with the Court of Federal Claims on November 8. The Federal Times said that Amazon planned to try to get the government to reveal what really happened in the awarding of JEDI.
(I asked Amazon to confirm it was protesting the JEDI award, but no word back so far.)
Update: An Amazon spokesperson sent me the following statement:
“AWS is uniquely experienced and qualified to provide the critical technology the U.S. military needs, and remains committed to supporting the DoD’s modernization efforts. We also 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. Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias- and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified.”
Throughout much of the bidding process, Amazon was expected by many to be the triumphant bidder. In the later rounds, Amazon and Microsoft emerged as the two final bidders in the winner-take-all deal. (Google dropped out of the JEDI bidding late last year, while Oracle and IBM were eliminated earlier this year. ) But in August this year, the Pentagon said it was putting the JEDI contract on hold after US President Donald Trump complained about potential conflicts of interest in the process. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been targeted by Trump as a political thorn because of his ownership of The Washington Post.
The JEDI contract is designed to upgrade legacy systems with newer cloud services. The JEDI Cloud will provide “enterprise-level, commercial IaaS (infrastructure as a service) and PaaS (platform as a service) to the Department and any mission partners for all Department business and mission operations,” the government said. The contract is expected to be worth up to $10 billion over 10 years.
Microsoft was awarded the JEDI contract on October 25. Industry experts have predicted since that date that Amazon would challenge the award.