Pentagon says it plans to stick with Microsoft as JEDI cloud contract winner

After many legal twists and turns, the Department of Defense says it has decided that Microsoft is the winning bidder for the $10 billion JEDI cloud contract.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: ZDNet

The Department of Defense is upholding its decision to award its $10 billion, 10-year cloud-computing contract to Microsoft, according to a statement the DoD released on Sept. 4. The statement comes just a couple of weeks after the Pentagon asked for more time to complete its review of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud deal.

According to a statement posted to the DoD press site: 

"The Department has completed its comprehensive re-evaluation of the JEDI Cloud proposals and determined that Microsoft's proposal continues to represent the best value to the Government. The JEDI Cloud contract is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract that will make a full range of cloud computing services available to the DoD. While contract performance will not begin immediately due to the Preliminary Injunction Order issued by the Court of Federal Claims on February 13, 2020, DoD is eager to begin delivering this capability to our men and women in uniform." 

I asked Amazon if the company intends to appeal the decision, but no word back so far. 

Update: AWS published its own statement about the Pentagon's September 4 decision on its site. The statement says "AWS offered a lower cost by several tens of millions of dollars" in its second go-around. The company intends to "continue to pursue a fair and impartial review." Its statement adds "We strongly disagree with the DoD's flawed evaluation and 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."

A Microsoft spokesperson provided the following statement upon request: 

"We appreciate that after careful review, the DoD confirmed that we offered the right technology and the best value. We're ready to get to work and make sure that those who serve our country have access to this much needed technology." 

Microsoft was awarded the JEDI contract in October 2019. Shortly thereafter, Amazon Web Services (AWS) filed a suit claiming President Donald Trump's interference played a big part in Microsoft's win.

Throughout much of the bidding process, Amazon was expected by many to be the triumphant bidder. In the later rounds, AWS and Microsoft emerged as the two final bidders in the winner-take-all deal. Google dropped out of the JEDI bidding late last year, while Oracle and IBM were eliminated earlier this year. Earlier this week, a federal appeals court rejected again Oracle's attempt to protest the company's elimination from the bidding.

In March 2020, the DoD requested revised bids from AWS and Microsoft for the storage solutions component of the JEDI contract-year $10 billion JEDI contract. In mid-August, which was slated to be the deadline for DoD to announce the winner after review, the agency asked for 30 additional days to issue its decision, which would have made Sept. 16 the new deadline.

The JEDI contract is designed to upgrade legacy DoD systems with newer cloud services. The JEDI Cloud will provide "enterprise-level, commercial IaaS (infrastructure as a service) and PaaS (platform as a service) to the Department and any mission partners for all Department business and mission operations," the government said.    

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