The result of the competition between Amazon and Microsoft for the Department of Defense’s lucrative $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract took many of us by surprise, as the general consensus was that Amazon will be the winner.
Amazon was accused of malpractices related to this contract process and because of which Defense Secretary reviewed the contract at the last moment.
In terms of cloud tech capabilities, Amazon AWS was clearly ahead of Azure and even the contract requirements were designed specifically around AWS capabilities. The US DoD did not reveal any details on why it selected Microsoft over other cloud companies, especially Amazon AWS.
Following their victory, Microsoft issued an official statement:
For over 40 years, Microsoft has delivered innovative, proven and secure technologies to the US Department of Defense (DoD). We brought our best efforts to the rigorous JEDI evaluation process and appreciate that DoD has chosen Microsoft. We are proud that we are an integral partner in DoD’s overall mission cloud strategy. As was articulated throughout the JEDI procurement, the DoD has a singular objective – to deploy the most innovative and secure commercially available technology to satisfy the urgent and critical needs of today’s warfighters. We look forward to expanding our longstanding partnership with DoD and support our men and women in uniform at home, abroad, and at the tactical edge with our latest unique and differentiated Azure cloud capabilities.” – Toni Townes-Whitley, President, US Regulated Industries, Microsoft.
It is expected that winning the defence department contract will have benefits for Microsoft well beyond the $10 billion name-plate price, as it is likely that government suppliers will also align themselves with the official defence department single-vendor solution. The win could be the turning point which decisively turns the tide against Amazon’s AWS, though with reports that there may have been political influence in the decision, it is possible litigation may delay the final implementation for years to come.