Amazon has faced a slight setback in its challenge to the Pentagon’s decision to award a $10 billion cloud contract to Microsoft.
The Pentagon’s watchdog has decided that Microsoft was awarded the contract fairly, despite being unable to rule out influence from the White House. Microsoft noted that it largely won the contract over Amazon due to its lower pricing.
In a 313-page report released by the Department of Defense, the inspector general noted that the process in awarding the contract to Microsoft was consistent with the law. The DoD endorsed Microsoft’s bid, but did say that it had reached roadblocks in investigating concerns that Amazon was blocked by President Donald Trump.
During interviews, the inspector general was unable to get straight answers from some witnesses due to ‘presidential communications privilege’. This meant that the DoD couldn’t rule out external influence in the bidding process from the White House.
“We could not definitively determine the full extent or nature of interactions that administration officials had, or may have had, with senior DoD officials regarding the JEDI Cloud procurement,” said the DoD.
Amazon is unlikely to drop its challenge to the Pentagon’s decision that easily, however. The firm has already rebuked the report noting that “The White House’s refusal to cooperate with the IG’s investigation is yet another blatant attempt to avoid a meaningful and transparent review of the JEDI contract award.”
It has already decided to press forward with a federal court review of the process, with Oracle also challenging the DoD’s decision to award the contract to a single company.