The US Appeals Court has thrown out Oracle’s challenge to the controversial multi-billion-dollar Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract - which the Pentagon awarded to Microsoft back in 2019.
Yesterday, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit backed a court ruling that Oracle, despite its grievances, wasn’t hampered by the Pentagon's JEDI contract. Oracle said it should not have issued a single-supplier contract; the Appeals Court ruled against it, ruling in Court documents that any errors in the bid were irrelevant because Oracle’s technology did not qualify for the cloud contract.
Not qualified for the job
The $10 billion JEDI contract saga has been running for three years, and Oracle was disqualified at an early stage, before the DoD eventually chose Microsoft over Amazon Web Services in October 2019. Oracle filed an initial legal challenge that was dismissed in July. This latest appeal came just weeks after the contract was awarded to Microsoft.
In its original lawsuit and subsequent appeal, Oracle first claimed JEDI’s cloud project was tailor-made for AWS, and that Amazon had an unfair advantage since it had hired former Pentagon employees after they crafted the bid.
As reported by Bloomberg, the ruling is considered a victory for the Pentagon which has faced criticism for its decision to choose just one company for JEDI. The DoD has said did this to reduce technical complexity and security risks.
Separately, AWS has filed a lawsuit against the DoD over claims the Pentagon picked Microsoft because of a political feud between the US President Donald Trump and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
A judge has yet to make a ruling on the AWS case, but in April, the Defense Department’s inspector general found the contract award wasn’t affected by any interference from Trump, though it said its probe was limited by the White House.
The legal turmoil has thrown the entire process into a quagmire where it has been bogged down in investigations and reviews. Back in March, a federal judge said she believed AWS was likely to succeed over some of its tort surrounding the lawsuit. As part of the suit, AWS claims the DoD poorly evaluated Microsoft’s offering which Amazon called “noncompliant.”
In response, Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft’s corporate VP of communications, said: “The decision disagreed with a lone technical finding by the Department of Defense about data storage under the evaluation of one sub-element of one price scenario.
"We have confidence in our technology, our bid, and the professional staff at the Department of Defense."
JEDI was set to begin in February 2020, but, Amazon successfully managed to get Federal courts to delay it until its lawsuit was concluded.