Pentagon awards controversial $10 billion cloud computing deal to Microsoft, spurning Amazon

Web Desk – October 26, 2019

 

The Pentagon awarded its controversial $10 billion cloud computing contract to Microsoft Friday evening, spurning a bid from Amazon after President Trump expressed opposition to giving the lucrative award to a company led by Jeff Bezos, one of his longtime rivals.

 

President Donald Trump, left, and Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, center, listen as Jeff Bezos, Chief Executive Officer of Amazon, speaks during an American Technology Council roundtable in the State Dinning Room of the White House in Washington in June of 2017. (Alex Brandon, File)

The announcement comes after an intense lobbying effort and a lawsuit filed by some of America’s biggest tech companies, who accused the military of favoring Amazon in a process that has dragged on for more than a year. During that time, Trump and other administration officials also made it clear that they did not want the contract to go to Amazon. Federal acquisition laws forbid politicians, including the president, from influencing contract awards.

The award is so large that it could tip the lucrative cloud computing business away from Amazon, which has long been the industry leader, in Microsoft’s favor. Amazon was openly described by competitors and industry analysts as a clear front runner to win the massive award, due to its years of experience handling classified data for the CIA. The company this year chose to build a massive second headquarters, a few miles from the Pentagon’s campus.

After a lawsuit and bid protests from Oracle and IBM failed to block the award this summer, Amazon appeared poised to win the contract, partly because the military already had designated the company with the highest data management certification. Microsoft’s designation was below Amazon’s.

In a statement announcing the award, the Defense Department said: “The acquisition process was conducted in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.”

All parties, the statement said, “were treated fairly and evaluated consistently with the solicitation’s stated evaluation criteria.”

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Pentagon awards controversial $10 billion cloud computing deal to Microsoft, spurning Amazon

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