Microsoft wins $10B cloud computing contract from Pentagon

Oct. 25 (UPI) — The U.S. Defense Department selected Microsoft for a cloud computing contract that could be worth $ 10 billion over 10 years, the Pentagon said Friday.

Microsoft beat out Amazon for the highly contested Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract. President Donald Trump, an outspoken critic of Amazon, drew scrutiny in July, when he said he would look into complaints that the bidding process was unfair. IBM, Oracle and Google also competed for the contract during the nearly two-year selection process.

Under the enterprise general-purpose cloud contract, Microsoft is tasked with modernizing the military’s cloud computing systems to “address critical and urgent unmet warfighter requirements for modern cloud infrastructure at all three classification levels delivered out to the tactical edge,” the Pentagon said.

The military’s computer systems include technology that dates to the 1980s and ’90s.

Amazon, which had been certified with the highest security clearance, was considered the favorite to win the contract before Trump began criticizing the company and its founder Jeff Bezos, The New York Times reported, noting that the issue has drawn speculation about whether Trump may have improperly influenced the bidding.

“The acquisition process was conducted in accordance with applicable laws and regulations,” the Pentagon statement said, adding that “(a)ll offerors were treated fairly and evaluated consistently with the solicitation’s stated evaluation criteria.”

Some legal analysts said the contract is likely to meet legal challenges, The Washington Post reported.

Amazon Web Services is the top vendor in the worldwide cloud computing market, holding 47.8 percent market share in 2018, compared with Microsoft, which was in second place with 15.5 percent, according to Gartner.

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