Pentagon to “reconsider” parts of controversial $10 billion JEDI contract
Amazon has notched up another minor victory in its lawsuit against the Department of Defense over a massive contract the federal government awarded to Microsoft late last year.
The DoD said Thursday that it will re-evaluate part of its decision to award the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract (JEDI, because of course) to Microsoft, CNN Business was first to report. In a court filing, the agency specified that it “wishes to reconsider its award decision in response to the other technical challenges presented by” Amazon Web Services.
JEDI, an agreement to build a cloud computing and storage platform for use by the entire DoD, is valued around $10 billion over the next several years. Multiple enterprise computing companies were on the initial shortlist of potential vendors, including Oracle and IBM. By April, the DoD dropped the list of finalist candidates to two: Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. Industry-watchers by and large thought Amazon would win out and were surprised when Microsoft emerged the victor in October.
Amazon filed suit in December, claiming that Microsoft got the contract not because of a superior platform or superior bid, but rather due to “improper pressure from President Donald J. Trump, who launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer the JEDI Contract away from AWS to harm his perceived political enemy—Jeffrey P. Bezos, founder and CEO of AWS’ parent company, Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”), and owner of the Washington Post.”
The company sought and won a preliminary injunction prohibiting the DoD from moving forward on the project while the legal challenge is still in progress. In that order (PDF), which was recently made public, Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith ruled that Amazon seems likely to win its case on the merits. Not only does the record seem to support Amazon’s claim that the DoD erred in certain technical and pricing judgements when making its decision, Campbell-Smith wrote, but also it seems to support Amazon’s claim that the decision was due to improper prejudice.
Amazon said it was “pleased” the DoD is reviewing the JEDI award, adding, “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.”
For its part, Microsoft said it supports the decision to “reconsider a small number of factors” as likely being “the fastest way to resolve all issues and quickly provide the needed modern technology to people across our armed forces.”