Microsoft, AWS Feud Over $1B Federal Geospatial-Intelligence Contract

Microsoft has filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office over the contract.


Microsoft is protesting a $1 billion five-year contract the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency gave to cloud rival Amazon Web Services, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office and media reports.

Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft filed a protest with the government agency on August 26 over the contract, saying the agency didn’t justify why no competition was held for the contract, news outlet FedScoop reported earlier this month.

Microsoft also said the contract is too broad‚ encompassing all of the agency’s requirements under the CIA’s Commercial Cloud Enterprise (C2E) solicitation, which dates back to 2020.

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CRN has reached out to Microsoft, Seattle-based AWS and the Springfield, Va.-based NGA for comment but had not heard back at press time.

The task order involves unclassified and classified cloud services, according to FedScoop. The GAO will make a decision before Dec. 5.

Since 2020, Microsoft, AWS, IBM, Oracle and Google—the top cloud vendors in the U.S.—have competed for task orders within the C2E contract over its duration, according to news outlet Washington Technology.

According to Microsoft, the NGA gave too little time for competing cloud vendors to respond to its decision to award only AWS the contract, Washington Technology reports. Work on the contract is halted until the GAO makes its decision. Microsoft filed its protest in August.

The CIA previously gave AWS a $600 million hosting contract in 2013, according to Washington Technology, making it the leader in cloud vendors for the federal market.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Defense shelved its potentially $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud computing contract won by Microsoft in October 2019—an award that was mired in litigation filed by AWS.

Microsoft recently failed to change the outcome in another large federal government contract it protested. In April, the National Security Agency chose AWS for a second time for a $10 billion cloud computing contract nicknamed “Wild and Stormy,” according to Washington Technology. Even though Microsoft convinced the GAO to ask the NSA to re-evaluate proposals, the NSA chose AWS as the contract recipient.