Microsoft challenges $10 bn NSA cloud contract won by AWS

San Francisco: After a bitter war over the $10 billion JEDI Cloud computing contract, Microsoft and Amazon have once again locked horns, this time over another $10 billion contract by the US National Security Agency (NSA) won by Amazon Web Services (AWS), the retail arm of Amazon.

According to a report in Washington Technology, Microsoft is challenging that decision at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), “saying NSA didn’t conduct a proper evaluation” while considering a Cloud provider for its new project code-named ‘WildandStormy’.

A decision is expected back from the GAO by October 29.

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In a statement to NextGov, an NSA spokesperson said that “the Agency will respond to the protest in accordance with appropriate federal regulations.”

The NSA is pursuing a “Hybrid Compute Initiative” to manage what goes into a “commercial cloud infrastructure and what pieces cannot be moved”.

Last month, the US Department of Defense announced that Pentagon cancelled $10 billion JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) contract that was given to Microsoft in 2019, leaving the favourite Amazon out of the race during the Donald Trump administration.

The Pentagon said that “due to evolving requirements, increased cloud conversancy, and industry advances, the JEDI Cloud contract no longer meets its needs.”

The JEDI contract was meant to modernise the Pentagon’s IT operations for services rendered over 10 years. After Microsoft was awarded the decade-long contract in October 2019, Amazon Web Services (AWS) had filed a bid protest directly to DoD, challenging the decision.

Microsoft had said that it won the JEDI contract because the US Department of Defense found that it offered “significantly superior” technology at a better price.

Amazon believed that the re-evaluation process was highly flawed, and subject to undue pressure from the former US President Donald Trump.

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