As competition for the US Department of Defence's lucrative JEDI contract reaches the final stage, a judge has cleared the way for a showdown between Amazon and Microsoft for the potentially $10bn computing contract dubbed the “Pentagon war cloud”, reports the Independent.
The two Seattle-based tech companies were picked as finalists among several major companies that bid to provide the US military with cloud computing and artificial intelligence on the battlefield as part of the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure plan, or JEDI.
Oracle and IBM dropped out of the race earlier, but Oracle refused to go down without a fight as it filed a legal challenge.
It complained that Amazon had given lucrative jobs to two Defence Department employees working on the government’s Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure project, allegedly boosting the company’s chances of winning the contract.
On Friday, a federal judge in Washington DC dismissed Oracle’s claim, clearing the way for the DoD to now choose between Amazon and Microsoft.
“We conclude…the contracting officer’s findings that an organisational conflict of interest does not exist and that individual conflicts of interest did not impact the procurement were not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.”
“Plaintiff’s motion for judgment on the administrative record is therefore denied, " Eric Bruggink, of the court of federal claims, wrote.
The Department of Defence announced the JEDI project to place Pentagon technology systems into the cloud in early 2018.
The news set in motion a race among companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Dell, and others for the contract the Pentagon said was worth a guaranteed minimum of $1mln with a ceiling of $10bln.
JEDI would make it easier for the US military information infrastructure to transfer and integrate data sets, as well as make global security upgrades to software across the entire platform, according to reports.