Amazon issued a Friday statement "setting the record straight", in the company's view, on the Pentagon's decision to award Microsoft with its $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud computing contract, calling the award "fatally flawed."
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The JEDI contract, which will give the military better access to data from remote locations using cloud technology, was initially expected to go to Amazon before the Defense Department decided to give the award to Microsoft in an unexpected move.
Amazon sued the Pentagon after Microsoft won the contract. Work on the project was halted in February so the lawsuit could proceed, but on April 17, U.S. Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith put a hold on the suit to allow the military to further review the decision to use Micorosoft's technology over Amazon's.
"Since we filed our protest, we’ve been clear in our intent: we don’t think the JEDI award was adjudicated fairly, we think political interference blatantly impacted the award decision, and we’re committed to ensuring the evaluation receives a fair, objective, and impartial review," Amazon Vice President of WW Communications Drew Herdener said in a statement.
Herdener also took a shot a Microsoft, saying the tech giant has "published multiple self-righteous and pontificating blog posts that amount to nothing more than misleading noise intended to distract those following the protest."
The comment came in response to a Thursday blog post from Microsoft, in which the software developer's vice president of corporate communications, Frank Shaw, said the DoD's "decision to source a [JEDI] contract to deliver the latest advancements in enterprise cloud could be a great step forward. But only if Amazon gets out of the way."
Shaw added that Amazon's latest confidential complaint, which Microsoft learned on Tuesday, will only delay the process of building the military's cloud computing project.
DOD spokesperson Lt. Col. Robert Carver told FOX Business that the "DOD continues to execute the procedures outlined ... last month with the intent of delivering this critically-needed capability to our warfighters as quickly as possible" in response to Amazon's statement.
Herdener said nobody who is "knowledgeable and objective believes [Micosoft has] the better offering," adding that the tech company has had "spotty operational performance during the COVID-19 crisis (and in 2020 YTD)."
Microsoft wants Amazon "to just be quiet and go away," Herdener wrote, echoing Micorost's blog post, but Amazon believes "it’s critical for the DoD, the country, and future U.S. Government procurements that agencies make decisions free from political retribution and interference, and based fairly and on the facts."
Herdener said the reason Campbell-Smith put a hold on Amazon's suit because the first issue she reviewed was Microsoft and the Pentagon's "flawed" definition of "storage."
"She determined that Microsoft’s bid was likely defective and therefore should have been ineligible, and said that as a result, the award to Microsoft was unlikely to stand up in court," Herdener wrote.
The DoD has said it is working to fix the definition of "storage," but Herdener called on the Department to "rectify the other flaws" in Microsoft's bid rather than just first flaw to avoid the "same situation" from happening again. When Amazon reached out to the DOD for clarification on its definition of "storage," Herdener said the Department was "unresponsive," leaving Amazon with no choice but to appeal.
Amazon's cloud service, Amazon Web Services (AWS), generated about 13.5 percent of Amazon’s revenue in the first quarter of 2020, making up about $10.22 billion out of the tech giant's total $75.5 billion revenue. Azure is Microsoft's fastest-growing business, and the service made up about 37 percent of the company's revenue for the third fiscal quarter of f2020, generating $12.3 billion of the company's total $32.47 billion revenue.
*May 8, 2020
The article has been updated to clarify the Department of Defense’s selection of Microsoft was not based on political bias against Amazon. The DOD maintains that there were no external influences on the selection decision.
This Associated Press contributed to this report.