Cloud Outsourcing

Former US president’s Donald Trump’s spat with Amazon founder squillionaire Jeff Bezos raised its head recently after the US military sent a $10 billion computer contact back to the drawing board.

The US Pentagon has cancelled the highly sensitive, $10 billion ‘Jedi cloud’ outsourcing computing contract that had been awarded to Amazon’s rival, Microsoft. The US defence department said it was reversing its decision to hand over large parts of its data and communications to Microsoft and restart the procurement process. 

The decision could bring an end to the long-running legal dispute triggered by the decision in 2019 to award the mega project solely to Microsoft. Amazon has accused former President Trump of putting pressure on the Pentagon to award the contract to its rival because of his dislike of Jeff Bezos.

Why has it reviewed cloud outsourcing

John Sherman, Pentagon acting chief information officer, said: “The department has determined that, due to evolving requirements, increased cloud outsourcing and industry advances, the Jedi cloud contract no longer meets its needs.” 

Toni Townes-Whitley, Microsoft’s president for US regulated industries, wrote in a blog post: “We respect and accept the move forward on a different path to secure mission-critical technology.” 

An Amazon Web Services spokesperson said: “We understand and agree with the decision. Unfortunately, the contract award was not based on the merits of the proposals and instead was the result of outside influence that has no place in government procurement.” 

The ‘Jedi’ contract was supposed to be the centrepiece of the US military’s effort to push much of its computing operations away from physical services and on to the cloud.

What this means for cloud outsourcing

When his administration finally made the decision to award the contract to Microsoft, it prompted an immediate legal appeal from Amazon, which alleged the administration ran a biased procurement process for its cloud outsourcing. Trump had frequently clashed with Bezos, often accusing The Washington Post, which the Amazon founder owns, of attacking him unfairly. 

Amazon lodged its appeal in 2019, but Microsoft said on Tuesday it had expected the legal process to drag on for another year. 

Microsoft also called for reform of the system that allows for companies to protest against government contracting decisions, accusing Amazon of “delaying, for years, critical technology upgrades for those who defend our nation”.

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