Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy today reiterated Amazon’s protests about the awarding of a $US10 billion US Department of Defence contract to its main rival Microsoft, saying there had been “significant” political interference in the decision, stemming from US president Donald Trump’s dislike of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Amazon has begun “active litigation” to challenge the decision, Jassy said, adding he thought the alleged political interference was a threat to the United States and democracy.
“I think that we ended up with a situation where there was significant political interference,” Jassy told media at his company’s annual conference, re:Invent, in Las Vegas today.
“When you have a sitting president who’s willing to share openly his disdain for a company, and the leader of that company, it makes it really difficult for government agencies including the [Department of Defence] to make an objective decision without fear of reprisal.”
Jassy said the contract, known as JEDI for Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, which includes cloud services for the Department of Defence over the next 10 years had not been “adjudicated fairly” and argued AWS was a superior public cloud provider than the main competition, Microsoft, Oracle and IBM.
AWS had been considered a front runner for the contract over Microsoft but in July President Trump said he was considering intervening in the decision, an unusual step for a president and one which raised questions of political interference.
Trump has a long running feud with AWS parent company, Amazon, founder Jeff Bezos who also owns the Washington Post, a long time critic of the President.
In October the Jedi contract was awarded to Microsoft despite what Jassy claims is a less capable cloud offering.
“I think if you do a truly objective and detailed apples to apples comparison of platforms, you don’t end up in the spot where that decision was made.”
Jassy said his customers report AWS is at least two years ahead of Microsoft in terms of functionality and maturity.
AWS is the market share leader in public cloud and has been atop Gartner’s rankings in the category for nearly a decade. Microsoft is second and has a deep history with many large enterprises and a large Windows install base to leverage.
Jassy said the decision has repercussions beyond the defence contract.
“I think it’s really risky for the country and for democracy for decisions not to be made [objectively]. This is important, we’re talking about the national security of our country and modernising their technology platform, the foundation on which all those applications that are going to be used to protect our country.
“You have to make sure that those decisions are made truly objectively.”
The author traveled to AWS re:Invent as a guest of Amazon.