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Oracle isn't happy about the DoD's pending new deal with Microsoft and Amazon

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What you need to know

  • The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) recently put its JEDI litigation headaches behind it by canceling the contract.
  • However, even though the fight between Team Amazon and Team U.S. government & Microsoft is over, Oracle is not satisfied.
  • Oracle argues the DoD is repeating the same mistakes all over again, simply under the guise of a new contract.

Though the matter's been formally wrapped for some time now, the U.S. Department of Defense's JEDI contract conundrum is still fresh in terms of the lineage of Pentagon-authorized cloud contracts. And now, Oracle is arguing the DoD's new Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract is repeating the JEDI cycle all over again, just under a new name.

For context, to summarize the lengthy story of JEDI: Microsoft was awarded a cloud contract by the Pentagon. Amazon sued, claiming that it was unrightfully discriminated against in the awarding process due to interference by the Trump administration. The battle stretched on for years until late in 2021, the Pentagon announced it was killing the JEDI contract altogether. It was then announced that the JWCC contract would replace JEDI and have room for both Microsoft and Amazon, precluding either party from claiming they'd been unfairly excluded.

However, Oracle says the JWCC's seemingly built-in inclusion of Microsoft and Amazon unfairly excludes it, stating that the DoD has not clarified what makes those two cloud providers eligible for the contract and justifies seemingly cutting out other companies from a shot at the deal.

Oracle's view of the matter is that the same misconduct that led to Amazon suing the U.S. is the same misconduct happening with the JWCC, just with a few of the players' positions on the chessboard rearranged (via The Register). Ergo, the case that started with JEDI should live on, and the DoD's award selection procedures should remain under scrutiny and require more clarity in requirements so that Oracle isn't left wondering why it seems to be teetering on the verge of being preemptively excluded.

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.

10 Comments
  • Economically, this points to a problem with the potential profit margins. If a company thinks their expected profit margins multiplied by the chance of winning exceeds the cost of litigation, they'll continue to sue until they get what they want. Wasting taxpayer money and the DoD's time in the process.
  • Hanley, I think your reasoning is fair as to the calculus a company may apply in choosing to litigate, but that doesn't indicate a "problem with the potential profit margins." If not for the potential for profit, fewer (if any) companies would bid on these projects and our national defense would therefore be weakened. Further, taxpayers would end up paying more, because there would be less competition and no incentive to put forward the best bid possible. Bidding on these is always a creative process to find ways to put forward the best possible service while cutting costs (or partner with another company who can provide key pieces less expensively than the prime contractor) to come in with the most compelling bid at the lowest possible price in order to win and gain those profits. The opportunity for profit is the prime driver in cutting costs, increasing options and opportunities, and most technical advances across human history.
  • DOD should of seen this fight coming, the moment they gave into Amazon.
  • Oracle has a point. But, as stated above they should have told Amazon to shove it and went forward with Microsoft.
  • I think I agree with you. Nothing good comes from showing you're easily bullied. It's like negotiating with terrorists: don't do it, regardless of the short term benefits, because it invites vastly more problems down the road. Not that Oracle is remotely a terrorist organization, but you get the parallel.
  • Political change at the top and DoD flips its decision making process, missing that they were handing this argument to Oracle and others and inviting litigation. This seems like another case of everything happening under the current administration is done with the attitude "If Trump administration supported it, it must have been bad, so we'll just do the exact opposite without any logic or analysis." Maybe that's a little too harsh, and to be fair, I don't really know what the thought process was at the DoD (maybe they were even considering this change before the administration changed), but this is why I'm so glad I'm no longer selling to the government. Even if you win a contract, political changes, which are fast and wildly unpredictable, can up-end any apparent victory. Government decision making is the least rational and the most political. Rarely does the actual value, ROI, or benefit to taxpayers factor in.
  • '"If Trump administration supported it, it must have been bad, so we'll just do the exact opposite without any logic or analysis." Maybe that's a little too harsh, and to be fair, I don't really know what the thought process was at the DoD' You are just making things up here.
  • Trump's own defense secretary accused Trump of keeping a contract away from Amazon for political reasons. This is the erosion of institutions and public trust that comes with leaders who will stomp all over democratic institutions for political gain. The damage Trump has caused will take decades to repair - no matter who is in the White House. And any fool who thinks Biden or Obama do the same thing can tell it to the comments at Newsmax.
  • Boohooo! Other companies that are bigger than me make more money!
  • Anyone who has EVER had a contract with Oracle knows what a nightmare it is to get the project to completion.
    They low-ball the offer, then stack on the "required consulting fees" to do the implementation later on.
    You can't use anyone but Oracle-approved consultants (and in many cases ONLY Oracle employees) to perform the modifications your particular business WILL NEED, and they will charge you an arm, and BOTH legs to do so. Don't even get me started on their onerous licensing costs which are the most expensive and restrictive in the industry, and their extended maintenance plans? Mob "protection" schemes are cheaper.
    It's no surprise that the DoD skipped over Oracle for such a massive project. The Oracle Consulting fees would have been astronomical (and it never would have worked in the end anyway.)
    Also, Oracle does not have anything remotely approaching the cloud resources available to Microsoft or Amazon, being a very distant 4th/5th place in hosting services.