Amazon Compels the Pentagon to Reconsider a $10 Billion Contract Awarded to Microsoft

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has won a court injunction compelling the Department of Defense (DoD) to reconsider the decision awarding a $10 billion contract to Microsoft. The $10 billion 10-year contracts Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) involves the cloud storage provision of secret military data and technology to the Pentagon.

While many industry experts had expected Amazon to win the contract, the DoD last year October awarded the contract to Microsoft’s Azure. Amazon immediately filed a lawsuit with the Court of Federal Claims, contending that the government awarded the contract to Microsoft because of President Donald Trump’s dislike of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and the company’s sister company, The Washington Post.

Lawyers for Amazon argued that President Trump influenced the award of the contract to Microsoft and that the political motivation behind the award was unconstitutional.

“The question is whether the President of the United States should be allowed to use the budget of DoD to pursue his own personal and political ends,” Amazon contended. “DoD’s substantial and pervasive errors are hard to understand and impossible to assess separate and apart from the President’s repeatedly expressed determination to, in the words of the President himself, ‘screw Amazon.’”

Amazon begged the court to give Pentagon 120 days to re-evaluate all proposals and reconsider the earlier award decision as an exercise of basic justice. The judge in charge of the case granted Amazon’s petition and gave the DoD 120 days to re-evaluate the award decision to Microsoft. The DoD agreed to conduct another re-assessment of the award decision and maintained that fairness and transparency were exercised during the earlier decision process.

“While we disagree with the Court’s decision, we must address the findings in the Court’s Order with the intent of ensuring our warfighters will get this urgent and critically needed technology as quickly and efficiently as possible,” a DoD spokesperson stated. “The Department maintains the JEDI Cloud contract was awarded based upon a fair and unbiased source selection process. The process consisted of a fair evaluation of proposals based solely on the solicitation’s stated criteria and the proposals submitted.”

Microsoft did not object to the court order and stated the court’s intervention is the fastest means to resolve the conflict and get the contract started. AWS hailed the court’s ruling, saying a DoD re-evaluation would correct the initial errors that flawed the award.

“We are pleased that the DoD has acknowledged ‘substantial and legitimate’ issues that affected the JEDI award decision and that corrective action is necessary,” Amazon wrote. “We look forward to complete, fair, and effective corrective action that fully insulates the re-evaluation from political influence and corrects the many issues affecting the initial flawed award.”