AWS boss takes aim at Trump over defence contract

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Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services.
Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Andy Jassy said this week that he believes the decision by the US Department of Defence (DOD) to award the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defence Initiative (JEDI) contract to Microsoft had not been adjudicated fairly.

The contract will see one company move the Pentagon to cloud-based platforms as part the department’s digital modernisation strategy.

Amazon is contesting the decision in October to award the contract to Microsoft.

Responding to questions from reporters at the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas this week, Jassy said the company is in the middle of litigation, and so he is limited in what he can say about the tender adjudication.

But he did say: “We have a sitting president who’s shared openly his disdain for a company [Amazon] and the leader of that company [Jeff Bezos], and it is very difficult for government agencies, including the DOD, to make an objective decision without fear of reprisal.

“Most of our customers tell us we’re a couple of years ahead in regard to functionality and maturity,” said Jassy, adding that on an ‘apples-to-apples’ evaluation, AWS should have been awarded the contract.

“I know the respective offerings quite well and I also know what the criterion was for JEDI, and we’ve got a lot of information about the evaluation.

“We’re talking about the national security of our country and modernising their technology platform, the foundation of which is all of those applications that are used to protect our country … you have to make sure those decisions that were made were truly objective.”

Last month, Amazon filed a notice with the US Court of Federal Claims, contesting the DOD’s decision to award a Pentagon cloud computing contract worth up to $10 billion to Microsoft. Amazon could also attempt to delay the start of the contract.

President Donald Trump has been vocal in his criticism of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, and has pressured the US Postal Service to double the fee it charges Amazon and other firms to ship packages.

He has also called the Washington Post, which is owned by Bezos, the 'Amazon Washington Post'.

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