Court says AWS 'likely to succeed' in JEDI protest

cloud data (CoreDESIGN/ 

A federal judge stated that Amazon Web Services was "likely to succeed" in establishing that the Department of Defense made errors in evaluating offers in the $10 billion, 10-year cloud computing contract awarded to Microsoft last fall.

The Court of Federal Claims last Friday unsealed a Feb. 13 ruling granting AWS a preliminary injunction to stop task orders on the Joint Enterprise Defense Initiative contract. The decision from Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith in the case hinged on the technical evaluation of some of the features in Microsoft's bid. Specifically, AWS argued that one aspect of Microsoft's winning proposal was out of compliance with a requirement for "highly accessible" storage.

The court also rejected DOD's arguments that national security needs for advanced cloud services -- articulated in detail in Oracle's separate lawsuit on the JEDI program -- militated the immediate issuance of JEDI task orders.

"The court does not find, under the present circumstances, that the benefits of the JEDI program are so urgently needed that the court should not review the process to ensure the integrity of the procurement," Campbell-Smith wrote.

Microsoft expects to prevail in the case, according to a statement from Frank X. Shaw, the company's vice president of communications.

"The decision disagreed with a lone technical finding by the Department of Defense about data storage under the evaluation of one sub-element of one price scenario," Shaw said. "We have confidence in our technology, our bid, and the professional staff at the Department of Defense. We believe that we will ultimately be able to move forward with the work."

In addition to its technical and evaluation protest, AWS is arguing that personal animus on the part of President Donald Trump factored into DOD's decision to go with Microsoft. Those arguments did not feature in the Feb. 13 decision to grant the injunction.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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