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Microsoft Retains JEDI Contract After DoD Investigation

After a months-long internal investigation, the Department of Defense (DoD) has "reaffirmed" Microsoft to be the winner of the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract.

On Friday, the DoD issued a short statement indicating that "[t]he Department has completed its comprehensive re-evaluation of the JEDI Cloud proposals and determined that Microsoft's proposal continues to represent the best value to the Government."

The decision is a major setback for Amazon, which has been legally contesting the DoD's contract award process since the end of 2019. The DoD originally awarded the contract to Microsoft last fall after fielding proposals from major cloud operators including Oracle, Google and IBM, as well as market leaders Amazon and Microsoft. The JEDI win was widely considered to be a coup for Microsoft, as Amazon -- whose Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform dominates the market -- had been the presumed front-runner.

Amazon's protest claimed, in part, that President Donald Trump exerted undue influence over the DoD's decision, fueled by his publicly acrimonious relationship with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Regarding the technical aspects of JEDI, Amazon also alleged that Microsoft's bid hinged on a "noncompliant" cloud storage technology that should have eliminated the company from the running altogether.

In February, a federal claims court called for an injunction against the JEDI contract until the issue could be resolved. In March, the DoD asked the court for three months to "reconsider" its JEDI decision and field revised bids from Microsoft and Amazon, though that period got extended by another month in August. Friday's announcement came just as the clock was winding down on the extension.

In a scathing post on its public sector blog, Amazon called the DoD's decision "flawed" and accused the agency of cowing to "political interference" by Trump. Amazon indicated that it will continue its legal protest of Microsoft's JEDI win.

"Although these are not easy decisions to make, and we do not take them lightly, we will not back down in the face of targeted political cronyism or illusory corrective actions, and we will continue pursuing a fair, objective, and impartial review," the company wrote.

For its part, the DoD indicated in its statement that it cannot yet proceed with work on the JEDI contract because of the ongoing injunction: "While contract performance will not begin immediately due to the Preliminary Injunction Order issued by the Court of Federal Claims on February 13, 2020, DoD is eager to begin delivering this capability to our men and women in uniform."

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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