Esper: Pentagon contract fairly awarded to Microsoft over Amazon

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Defense Secretary Mark Esper doubled down Friday on his belief that Microsoft was fairly awarded a $10 billion cloud-computing contract, The Associated Press reports.

When the Pentagon awarded the massive contract to Microsoft in late October, Amazon, which was in the running for the contract, protested heavily, citing “unmistakable bias,” while announcing that it would challenge the decision in court.

Esper reportedly recused himself from the awarding process as his son had previously worked for one of the unsuccessful bidders.

“I am confident that it was conducted freely and fairly without any type of outside influence,” Esper told reporters Friday in Seoul, South Korea.

The cloud contract, called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, attracted all of the usual tech giant suspects: Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle and IBM.

Amazon, in a statement Thursday, said that “numerous aspects” of the bidding process were flawed, but didn’t elaborate on what those aspects were.

The AP reports that Amazon was long thought to be the front-runner for JEDI, which when completed, will store and process extreme amounts of classified data. This will allow the U.S. military to use artificial intelligence to increase the pace of its war planning, among other things.

The Department of Defense told the AP that it doesn’t comment on potential litigation.

Microsoft and Amazon didn’t immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.

Tags Amazon Department of Defense JEDI cloud Mark Esper Microsoft

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