WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Trump delays JEDI but does it really matter?

President Trump has ordered the Defense Department to put the $10 billion JEDI cloud infrastructure contract on hold.

Newly-installed Defense Secretary Mark Esper will review the contract that is a head-to-head, and neck-and-neck, contest between Amazon Web Services and Microsoft.

Oracle recently lost its lawsuit. They have objected to multiple aspects of the JEDI procurement including that it is a single-award contract and that the requirements were so narrow that it favored AWS. They also raised allegations of conflicts of interest.

The company lost in court on all accounts.

President Trump's involvement has been a possibility since he voiced concerns about the contract earlier in July. He claimed he was hearing multiple complaints.

Congress also has scrutinized the contract since its inception. Much of Congress’ concerns involved DOD’s decision to make the contract a single-award instead of a multiple-award contract.

Many in the federal IT industry also have complained about that strategy, arguing that DOD was cutting itself off from innovation during the 10-year life of the contract.

So what happens from here? Is this the end of JEDI?

There are plenty of reports that AWS had the contract all but signed. And CNN reported earlier this week that Oracle’s lobbying team supplied Trump with a one-page document describing a conspiracy to award AWS the contract.

Given Trump’s hatred of all things Amazon, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he is asking for a review. I’m not convinced he’ll actually cancel it, but he might be relishing the fact that he is messing with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Politics aside though, is stopping JEDI now the right thing to do? That’s a tougher question.

I’ve thought for several months now that JEDI would not be this great, transformative contract. It will be a nice load of work for whoever wins it, but it won’t lock up the cloud market.

DOD has said that their cloud future is one with multiple clouds.

Perhaps the best thing is for DOD to make its award and then the market can move on toward that new future. JEDI will likely just be another contract.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Aug 01, 2019 at 2:26 PM

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