Amazon or Microsoft. One of the two was about to get its hands on a $ 10 billion cloud service contract for the Pentagon, but the United States Department of Defense decided to suspend competition. The reason? For President Donald Trump, the process may have been manipulated to favor Amazon.
The Pentagon has been looking for a single supplier for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infraestructure (JEDI) for some time, a cloud computing and artificial intelligence project that should be able to process large volumes of data for military and security purposes.
It is a complex project, the kind that only large companies can handle. Therefore, competition was reduced to a few companies: Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle, basically. Google was also in the running, but gave up last year on the grounds that the Pentagon’s requirements did not align with its ethical principles.
Over the months, the Pentagon ended up limiting competition to two suppliers: Amazon and Microsoft. This is where the conflicts begin: Oracle complains that it has been unfairly eliminated from the process.
In a lawsuit filed in December last year against the Department of Defense, the company claims that the conditions imposed by the Pentagon were created to favor Amazon.
The matter eventually came to some lawmakers who, in turn, forwarded the company’s complaints to Donald Trump. Weeks later, the president hinted that Amazon may even be involved in a conspiracy to win the Pentagon contract.
Trump also asked for the matter to be investigated. As a result, the Pentagon has temporarily suspended competition. The process will be reviewed by Mark Esper, the new Secretary of Defense, who has already made it clear that no decision will be made until he completes this work. Until then, the intention was to announce the winner of the contract this month.
It is not the first time that Donald Trump is surprised by Amazon. Last year, the president accused the company of damaging the United States Postal Service. Trump also believes that Jeff Bezos used the Washington Post to undermine his election – the newspaper has belonged to the founder of Amazon since 2013.