What you need to know

  • Microsoft and Amazon are competing for a contract to build the U.S. military a war cloud.
  • The contract is valued at $10 billion.
  • Legal challenges have surrounded the selection process.

Microsoft and Amazon are competing to win the opportunity to create a "war cloud" computing system for the U.S. military. The opportunity is valued at $10 billion and would last a decade (via AP).

The project used to be called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure plan (JEDI). The project would store and process classified data and allow the Pentagon to use AI to improve war planning. The amount of data required for a project is massive, so the U.S. military is doing its due diligence. The competition has already seen major players eliminated from the running. Both Oracle and IBM were eliminated earlier during the competition.

Legal issues surround the competition as Oracle has raised concerns regarding if the Pentagon unfairly favors Amazon. Oracle and IBM lodged formal protests last year as reported by the Associated Press. Following the protests being dismissed, Oracle took the case to the Court of Federal Claims citing what it believes to be conflicts of interest between Amazon and the U.S. government. The legal issues are ongoing, with oral arguments scheduled for Wednesday, July 10, 2019. The central piece of Oracle's argument regards a Defense Department official who went to work for Amazon. Amazon states that Oracle has "exaggerated that employee's role in the procurement."

With legal issues ongoing, the project winner might not be announced for some time. The Wall Street Journal reports that the project is "under fire." When the issues are resolved, the winning company will have a decade long contract to create a unique "war cloud."

Portable (and affordable) power accessories we love

Each and every one of these charging gadgets will keep your favorite gear and gadgets going for longer, and none of them costs more than $30.

VisionTek 8,000 mAh micro-USB power bank ($13 at Dell)

This compact dual-output powerbank can speedily recharge any and all your devices, thanks to a two-amp "fast charge feature," using its micro-USB out port. Its simple design includes an LED indicator, and it costs about as much as a single ticket to the movies.

Panasonic eneloop AA batteries (From $13 at Dell)

Panasonic's rechargeable batteries are among the best available, and just a couple of them will keep your favorite remote, mice or other peripherals powered up when you need them. They're also eco. And the company's affordable charger fits and charges both AA and AAA batteries at the same time.

Belkin Qi Wireless Charging Pad ($30 at Dell)

This unobtrusive Qi wireless charging pad looks good (and kind of like a UFO …) and easily charges all your Qi-compatible device up to 5W. Its LED indicator lights up when you're charging. And it costs just $30.

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