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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Amazon, IBM show their claws in CIA fight

The fight between Amazon and IBM over the CIA’s $600 million cloud contract is taking an ugly turn especially for an industry that coined the term coopetition.

To quickly recap, Amazon Web Services won a contract with the CIA to provide cloud services. IBM protested and the Government Accountability Office agreed that some corrective actions needed to be taken.

The award was pulled back and new proposals were submitted for evaluation.

Pretty standard stuff so far, but then Amazon took the unusual step and filed suit against the federal government to force the CIA to abide by its original decision.

Now some of the contents of the lawsuit are public and Amazon’s lawsuit throws some sharp barbs at IBM and GAO, calling IBM’s protest “untimely” and “meritless.” GAO’s decision is “flawed.”

Very impolite language for the government market.

IBM’s response – to our sister publication FCW, which has been tight on this story – also goes after Amazon, a rising player in the federal space. “Unlike Amazon, IBM has a long history of delivering successful transformational projects like this for the U.S. government.”


I’m not sure if Amazon’s actions are burning bridges or not. But it is hard to imagine the two companies mending fences anytime soon. I doubt we'll ever see an Amazon-IBM team.

So much for the spirit of coopetition.

Oral arguments in the case are set for Oct. 7.


Posted by Nick Wakeman on Aug 21, 2013 at 9:49 AM

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