AWS CEO Jassy Pledges 'Very Competitive' Bid in Jedi Pentagon Contract


Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy has promised that the company will make a "very competitive" bid for the soon-to-be-released Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract that could award a single cloud provider with a massive U.S. Department of Defense contract for cloud computing services.

Jassy's pledge comes in the midst of complaints from other tech vendors, including Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, Dell, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which have argued that AWS may have been prematurely selected to win the multi-year, multi-billion-dollar contract.

AWS, according to Jassy, will not only be throwing its hat in the ring to bid on the JEDI contract, but it will be aggressively pursuing the deal.

[Related: AWS Introduces Channel Program With New Incentives For Solution Providers]

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"We will bid on the JEDI contract when it comes out and it will be a very competitive bid … [The government] has been very clear from the get-go that they will pick the platform and the provider that they think gives them the best chance to do what they need to do over the next couple of years," Jassy, the low-profile leader of Amazon's cloud business, said during a CNBC interview Wednesday.

Oracle, perhaps AWS' most vocal competitor, wants to see the contract broken up among multiple vendors.

Oracle reportedly first raised concerns about the bidding process for large government cloud computing contracts when the company's co-CEO Safra Catz sat down with President Trump during a private dinner in April. Since then, Oracle has been leading the charge to lobby against AWS winning the entire contract as other cloud and IT hardware giants have joined the fray.

The tech leaders say that by relying on multiple providers, vendor lock-in can be avoided while delivering more innovation, lower costs, and better security.

In February, Oracle issued a formal complaint through the Government Accountability Office after Rean, a major AWS channel partner based in Herndon, Va., revealed that it had landed a nearly $1 billion contract with the U.S. Transportation Command that is being viewed as a potential precursor to the larger JEDI contract.

Oracle's protest claims that the procurement process naming REAN the contract winner violated government procedures to ensure competitive bidding because the Department of Defense picked an implementation partner before deciding which cloud provider would host those workloads.

REAN did not respond to CRN's request for comment prior to publication time.

Jassy, who acknowledged that the race will be tight, pointed to AWS' "significant' government business. More than 3,000 government agencies worldwide rely on the Amazon cloud, including some in the U.S. intelligence community, he said. That includes the CIA's 10-year, $600-million deal with AWS to build out a private cloud system for the agency.

Jassy added that while the major technology providers are all interested in the contract, he also suggested that some of the recent complaints are sour grapes.

"I think that there has been a lot of noise from some of the older guard suppliers who are worried about losing some business, but our government deserves the best -- the best technology, the most capabilities, innovations, and best cost structure -- especially at this time," he said.

Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd said that his company is already a big supplier to the federal government, and vowed that Oracle will be "very active" in the bidding process once the final RFP is released.

"I think it would only make sense for the government to leverage its installed base … I'm sure they will do it fairly on who can bring the government the furthest along, modernize and certainly at the same time save them money," Hurd told members of the media during an event on Monday at Oracle's Redwood Shores, Calif. headquarters.

"I think we'll have to wait to see what the final RFP looks like," he said. "There's been a lot of conjecture about what will be in it. A lot of guesswork. Let's let that process play out."