Amazon Web Services Chief Says Pentagon Got it Wrong with JEDI Award

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The head of Amazon Web Services isn’t pulling punches at the company’s global summit in Las Vegas.

Amazon Web Services, silent for so long during the competition for the multibillion-dollar Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract, is speaking publicly about how the Pentagon got it wrong in selecting Microsoft in October.

“We obviously don’t believe JEDI was adjudicated fairly,” AWS Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy said during an interview with CNBC Monday at the company’s re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. “I think anybody who does a detailed apples-to-apples comparison of the platforms doesn’t come out the same spot this procurement did. Most of our customers tell us we're about a couple years ahead of anybody else with regard to functionality and maturity. There was significant political interference here.”

Jassy’s comments come as AWS is formally challenging the Pentagon’s JEDI award in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The company alleges “political influence” wrongfully influenced the Pentagon’s decision to award the contract—which could be worth as much as $10 billion over 10 years—to Microsoft. The lawsuit is under seal, though AWS notified the court it intends to use four videos as exhibits, including two featuring Trump making negative comments about Amazon and its founder, Jeff Bezos. Microsoft intervened in the case, giving it an opportunity to participate in court proceedings.

“You ended up with a situation where there was significant political interference,” Jassy told reporters in a press conference Wednesday in Las Vegas. “When you have a sitting president who is willing to share openly his disdain for a company and the leader of that company, it makes it really difficult for government agencies, including the [Defense Department], to make an objective decision without fear of reprisal.”

AWS and Microsoft were the final two companies competing for JEDI after the Pentagon tossed out bids from Oracle and IBM that didn’t meet JEDI’s gateway requirements. Neither IBM nor Oracle’s bid protests with the Government Accountability Office were successful, and a judge later ruled against Oracle in its lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Oracle appealed the decision.

It is unclear how AWS’s legal challenge will impact the execution of JEDI. Microsoft spokespeople have said the company is “ready to get to work.”