Amazon and Microsoft have been tearing into each other over the drama surrounding the award of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract by the Department of Defense (DoD).
JEDI is a decade long contract worth around $10bn and establishes a dedicated cloud platform for the US military. It was awarded to Microsoft in October 2019, after more than a year of acrimonious argument, and the war of words has continued since then.
Throughout 2019,, it had looked as though AWS would be clear winner, until JEDI was finally awarded to Microsoft in October, after months of review and several defense secretaries. Since then, complaints from Amazon have come in thick and fast, with Amazon complaining that President Trump thwarted AWS despite "better" tech, and Microsoft contending that it won fairly.
Last week, Amazon filed a confidential protest directly with the DoD and Frank Shaw, Microsoft's comms VP, responded on May 7 with a stinging blog post, saying: “The DoD decision to source a Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract to deliver the latest advancements in enterprise cloud could be a great step forward. But only if Amazon gets out of the way.
"We received notice on Tuesday that Amazon has filed yet another protest – this time, out of view of the public and directly with the DoD – about their losing bid for the JEDI cloud contract. Amazon’s complaint is confidential, so we don’t know what it says. However, if their latest complaint mirrors the arguments Amazon made in court, it’s likely yet another attempt to force a re-do because they bid high and lost the first time.
“The only thing that’s certain about Amazon’s new complaint is that it will force American warfighters to wait even longer for the 21st-century technology they need – perpetuating Amazon’s record of putting its own interests ahead of theirs.”
Shaw proceeds to accuse AWS of trying to stimy the process and bog it down in complaints and litigation to delay it so much that it never gets off the ground, while putting forward Microsoft as a champion of getting soldiers the support they need.
In response, Amazon comms VP Drew Herdener, wrote his own article, slamming Shaw’s blog as “self-righteous” and “pontificating” complaints that “amount to nothing more than misleading noise intended to distract those following the protest.”
“Since we filed our protest, we’ve been clear in our intent: we don’t think the JEDI award was adjudicated fairly, we think political interference blatantly impacted the award decision" he said, going into detail about how the judge halted the process after finding issues with how “storage” was defined and what was required to have a valid bid.
Herdener ends his blog by saying: “Microsoft is doing an awful lot of posturing. We understand why. Nobody knowledgeable and objective believes they have a better offering. And, this has been further underscored by their spotty operational performance during the Covid-19 crisis [several services including Azure, have suffered performance issues since the pandemic increased Internet traffic].
“To be clear, we won’t back down on this front regardless of whether Microsoft chooses to try to bully its way to an unjust victory. We also won’t allow blatant political interference or inferior technology to become an acceptable standard.
“We have great respect and admiration for those who serve and are honored to support the DoD, but we will not sit idle nor apologize for doing what we believe is right, fair, and just.”