What you need to know
- Amazon has been awarded a $10 billion contract with the U.S. National Security Agency.
- Microsoft is protesting the contract, claiming that the NSA did not conduct a proper evaluation of cloud services.
- A decision is expected regarding Microsoft's protest by October 29, 2021.
- This contract is entirely separate from the JEDI cloud contract that was worth up to $10 billion.
Microsoft and Amazon are yet again fighting over a $10 billion cloud contract. This is entirely separate from the drawn-out legal battle over the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract with the U.S. Department of Defense. This time, Amazon was awarded a $10 billion contract with the National Security Agency (NSA), and Microsoft is the one filing the complaint (via The Verge).
Washington Technology reports that the tech giants are competing for a contract codenamed "WildandStormy" that is worth up to $10 billion. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has already been awarded the contract, but Microsoft is challenging the decision with the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The company claims that the NSA did not conduct a proper evaluation. Microsoft filed its protest on July 21, 2021.
"Based on the decision we are filing an administrative protest via the Government Accountability Office. We are exercising our legal rights and will do so carefully and responsibly," said a Microsoft spokesperson to Nextgov.
A decision regarding Microsoft's protest is expected from the GOA by October 29, 2021.
The legal contest over the JEDI contract lasted from October 2019 to July 2021. The contract was eventually canceled and replaced with the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (via FedScoop), which could include deals with both Microsoft and Amazon. If the JEDI contract dispute sets a precedent regarding the length of legal battles, it could be quite some time until a final resolution is made regarding the NSA's WildandStormy contract.
Multiple recent government contracts have been awarded to multiple partners rather than a single company. Last November, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) awarded its Commercial Cloud Enterprise contract to five companies; Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle.
Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Round Two: Fight 😁
Amazon is such a salty company.
This is completely normal in government contracts. I was involved in a bid that was awarded in June but we've just cleared the final round of protests. In fact, most companies have a protest ready to go before the bid is awarded so they can immediately protest the loss. Then they figure out if they actually have a good reason to fight it. GAO has to make a decision on the contract within 90 days, and they only have 14 days (I believe) to file a protest after it's awarded. We went through 3 protests on ours and ended up winning out though.
Your comment is important context for this story. But there is an important difference: Direct meddling from the previous White House in a previous award. One of the biggest problems with authoritarians and wannabe strongmen is that corruption becomes normal and trust collapses. As people in many other countries know, it's hard to put that genie back in the bottle. And the consequences aren't just for government contracting and the economy. It makes both crisis management (think: Covid) and democracy (think: Jan. 6) harder, too.
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