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Microsoft flips the script on Amazon with sustained protest against NSA cloud contract

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Microsoft logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • In 2021, Microsoft's JEDI cloud contract with the U.S. government died.
  • A contributing factor to JEDI's demise may have been Amazon's extensive legal efforts protesting the contract's awarding procedure.
  • Now, Microsoft is reversing the situation by protesting an Amazon cloud contract awarded by the NSA.
  • The tech giant's protest has been sustained.

For those of you who keep up on Microsoft's Azure activities, you know its cloud contracts are a big deal for the company. As such, when Microsoft's Pentagon-awarded JEDI cloud contract got dissolved, it was a less-than-ideal situation for the company. Doubly so as, based on the timing of JEDI's termination, the decision seemed to have come in part due to Amazon's lengthy legal battle with the U.S. government over the deal's awarding procedure and potential Trump administration interference.

Now, Microsoft's pulling something of an Uno reverse card with a complaint about the NSA awarding a cloud contract to Amazon. Not only that, but the protest has been officially sustained by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Here's an excerpt from the GAO statement:

On October 29, 2021, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) sustained the protest filed by the Microsoft Corporation, of Redmond, Washington. Microsoft challenged the award of a contract to Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), of Seattle, Washington under solicitation No. H98230-20-R-0225. The solicitation was issued by the National Security Agency (NSA) for cloud services in support of that agency's classified and unclassified computing requirements (NSA procurement name WILDANDSTORMY, or WandS). GAO found certain aspects of the agency's evaluation to be unreasonable and, in light thereof, recommended that NSA reevaluate the proposals consistent with the decision and make a new source selection determination.

There's no telling how long of an ordeal could materialize from Microsoft's protest. For reference, the JEDI battle lasted roughly two years.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

6 Comments
  • Amazon is clearly run by Lex Luthor, whether its about the JEDI contract or SpaceX NASA contract, just goes to show what kind of low they would stoop to, just to delay a whole country, even the world for their gains, its time they got hit for what they think they can get away with.
  • Amazon and Blue Origin are separate companies in separate business with separate CEOs.
    The "only" link is Bezos. 😈
    (He *could* play Luthor on video, but Jon Cryer is out of his league.)
  • Eff Amazon. This is good turnabout and I hope Amazon loses the contract!
  • While Amazon does seem to deserve this, it is disheartening to see so many projects put on hold or canceled because company lawyers threw a temper tantrum.
  • Two-edged sword: the fairness of the process must be protected because of the vast sums of money involved and the low-price of buying politicians and bureaucrats but legalistic delay tactics must be reined in. The Bezos companies are both guilty of abusing the system. AWS lost JEDI on merit yet harrassed and harrassed with political arguments until the DOD cancelled it in disgust (or under politician pressure). Blue ORIGIN is worse because they have no case beyond a sense of entitlement that an over priced piece of crap *must* be funded even if it *not* compliant with the RFP. Yet they are not only delaying the innevitable, they used their bought and paid-for Senators to get Congress to force NASA to give B.O. a contract with no *extra* money to pay for it, when the allocated funds can barely pay for best and cheapest bid/award. A game of gotcha we've seen used before to murder CONSTELLATION. All part of a concerted effort by union lobbyists and old-space peddlers of overpriced obsolete junk to use politicians and bureaucrats (all documented) to obstruct the clear industry leader.
    Disgraceful.
    Business as usual inside the beltway.
  • Perfectly described, and exactly why I say that governments are the most inherently corrupt organizations on the planet and should not be trusted with any more power than needed to perform the most basic and essential functions. That's not to say they can't do good, just that the incentives for those in government are inherently corrupting, which is not the case for those driving the private sector.