When the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced they were looking to award a massive $10 billion cloud contract back in 2018, it was not surprising that some of tech’s heavy hitters all threw their hats in the ring.
Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle were a few of the big names that wanted a shot at the contract, dubbed the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (or JEDI for short). The project will upgrade legacy DoD systems with newer cloud services, which will provide "enterprise-level, commercial IaaS and PaaS to the department and any mission partners for all department business and mission operations.”
Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft soon reached the top of the list as the two final bidders, while Google dropped out late last year and Oracle and IBM were eliminated earlier this year.
Even before the vetting process started, Oracle claimed that the process favored Amazon. In December 2018, Oracle filed a $10 billion lawsuit in federal court, which was denied last August. It has since appealed that ruling three times—even though Microsoft was eventually awarded the contract in October 2019—arguing that the process was flawed because the contract went to a single vendor.
In addition, Oracle believes that there was a conflict of interest because a former Amazon employee was involved in writing the DoD’s request for proposal criteria. However, the company just lost another round in court when the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected its argument on both counts.
AWS also filed its own suit after Microsoft’s win, claiming President Donald Trump's interference played a big part in its rival’s win. For its part, the DoD revealed that it had “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.”
Once that announcement was made, Amazon then posted a rebuttal, saying that it had “offered a lower cost by several tens of millions of dollars" in its second go-around, adding that the company plans to ask for another review. "We strongly disagree with the DoD's flawed evaluation and 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,” the statement read.
DoD’s recent statement on the announcement also confirmed that, due to the Preliminary Injunction Order issued by the Court of Federal Claims on February 13, 2020, contract performance will not begin immediately.