IBM bails on $600M CIA cloud deal, lets Amazon have it

Summary:Big Blue withdraws its bit to run the U.S. spy agency's private cloud, ceding to Amazon, which originally won the contract.

Amazon has (finally) secured a $600 million contract to power a U.S. spy agency's secret cloud, leaving IBM limping away from the contested deal.

On Wednesday, Big Blue withdrew its protest to power the private cloud-based project by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, ceding to Amazon Web Services, which was originally granted the contract.

Amazon was awarded the contract earlier this year, but IBM filed with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in efforts to be granted the contract for itself — a process not too uncommon in a highly lucrative business space. 

The protest was upheld, forcing the secret intelligence agency to throw open the contract rebidding process.

Amazon subsequently complained in a U.S. court to prevent its cloud rival from snapping up the contract out of its hands, which resulted in a federal judge striking down IBM's objections earlier this month, leading to the company withdrawing its complaint altogether.

The Seattle, Wash.-based company told our sister site CNET at the time: "We are pleased with the court's decision and look forward to resuming our work on this important contract with our customer."

While we are aware of the project, details relating to the "private cloud" are believed to be classified.

The CIA declined to comment on the earlier reports. The agency "does not publicly disclose details of our contracts, the identities of our contractors, the contract values or the scope of work," according to a spokesperson.

We've put in questions to Amazon in regards to IBM's withdrawing from the bid, but did not hear back at the time of writing.

(via FCW)

Topics: Cloud


Zack Whittaker is a writer-editor for ZDNet, and sister sites CNET and CBS News. He is based in the New York newsroom. His PGP key is: EB6CEEA5.

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