SAN FRANCISCO – American tech multinational Amazon announced on Thursday that it would protest the Pentagon’s award to Microsoft of a cloud computing contract valued at up to $10 billion.
Amazon’s cloud unit Amazon Web Services had been the favorite to win and already had a contract with the Central Intelligence Agency.
Its founder Jeff Bezos is often a target of US President Donald Trump’s ire. Bezos also the Washington Post – one of the news outlets most critical of the president’s administration and which has been the subject of his outbursts.
The Seattle company said in a statement that “numerous aspects of the JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias, and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified.”
“We also 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,” AWS said.
The comment appeared to be directed at Trump, who on July 19 called for an investigation of the Pentagon contract.
“I’m getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and Amazon,” Trump told reporters at the time. “I will be asking them to look very closely to see what’s going on,” he added.
The Pentagon has more than 500 separate clouds. The JEDI contract is designed to serve as an umbrella system to rationalize that number and provide the military with access to services that better keep up with the pace of technology in civilian markets.
In addition to the economic value of the deal itself, its importance goes even further as the Pentagon’s largest technology contract in history is seen as a pioneer that other government agencies would follow.
At the time of announcing the award, the Department of Defense assured that all parties “were treated fairly and evaluated consistently with the solicitation’s stated evaluation criteria.”