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Oracle Says It Will Appeal ‘Unlawful’ JEDI Cloud Contract Decision

The federal contract is potentially worth up to $10 billion.

Oracle said on Monday that it would appeal a federal court’s decision on the fate of the JEDI cloud contract procurement process that gave Amazon Web Services a leg up in its quest to win the multi-billion dollar cloud computing deal.

U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Eric Bruggink ruled last month in favor of the government and Amazon Web Services, which voluntarily joined the case as a co-defendant to protect its own interests, clearing one of the last potential obstacles to delivering the potentially $10 billion cloud transformation contract to the two finalists in the process: AWS and Microsoft.

“The Court of Federal Claims opinion in the JEDI bid protest describes the JEDI procurement as unlawful, notwithstanding dismissal of the protest solely on the legal technicality of Oracle’s purported lack of standing,” Oracle said in a statement. “Federal procurement laws specifically bar single award procurements such as JEDI absent satisfying specific, mandatory requirements, and the Court in its opinion clearly found DoD did not satisfy these requirements. The opinion also acknowledges that the procurement suffers from many significant conflicts of interest. These conflicts violate the law and undermine the public trust. As a threshold matter, we believe that the determination of no standing is wrong as a matter of law, and the very analysis in the opinion compels a determination that the procurement was unlawful on several grounds.”

[RELATED: Oracle Exec Says Battle Not Over For JEDI Cloud Deal]

DoD spokesperson Elissa Smith said in a statement to CRN that the “DOD is aware of Oracle's intent to appeal and will review it along with the Department of Justice. As DOD has asserted throughout this litigation, and as confirmed by the court, DOD reasonably evaluated and equally treated all offerors within the framework of a full and open competition. DOD's priority remains delivering critically needed capabilities to the warfighter while protecting taxpayer resources.”

In the short judgment in July, Bruggink wrote that a specific "gate criteria" for "high availability and failover"— one that Oracle argued exceeded the military's needs—can be enforced. Oracle conceded it could not meet that threshold when it submitted its bid last year, he noted.

The judge went on to find conflicts of interest did not undermine the integrity of the process. The investigation conducted by the Pentagon's contracting officer concluding there was no "organizational conflict of interest" and that "individual conflicts of interest did not impact the procurement" was done in a way that was "not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law," he said.

In the lawsuit filed on Dec. 6, 2018 in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Oracle argued that requirement, and two of the other seven gate criteria, were crafted just to restrict the field in favor of AWS winning the lucrative and prestigious contract.

The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based tech giant went on to accuse three government employees involved in the JEDI RFP process of having conflicted relationships with Amazon that led to the needlessly exclusionary thresholds.

As to those three officials—Deep Ubhi, Anthony DeMartino and an unnamed retired naval officer who joined AWS in 2018—AWS said none of them played an important role in drafting the solicitation package, and none of their relationships with AWS stemmed from their work in the government.

Oracle also argued the JEDI contract should not have been designated for a single vendor—an issue Judge Bruggink didn't touch in his ruling.

Joseph Tsidulko contributed to this report.

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