Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bezos snubbed as Pentagon awards Microsoft Jedi contract



Bezos snubbed as Pentagon awards Microsoft Jedi contract

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Pentagon earlier this year put off awarding the hefty computing contract, before deciding on Microsoft. AFP

Bezos snubbed as Pentagon awards Microsoft Jedi contract

The Pentagon said on Friday it will award a $10 billion cloud computing contract to Microsoft, following a highly scrutinised bidding process which Amazon had been favoured to win after the intervention of US President Donald Trump.

The 10-year contract for the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure programme (Jedi) ultimately will see all military branches sharing information in one system that can be scoured in real-time with the help of artificial intelligence.

The Pentagon earlier this year put off awarding the hefty contract, saying that the process would be reviewed by the newly appointed defence secretary.

Amazon was considered the leading contender to provide technology for the Jedi programme but critics argued that the bidding process favoured the Seattle-based technology titan.

The move to stall the contract process came a week after Mark Esper was confirmed as the new US secretary of defence.

Esper was selected by US President Donald Trump, who has lashed out at Amazon and company founder Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post.

The Washington Post reported that the contract was the “military’s largest information technology contract award in history” and “is expected to lead to other business across the federal government”.

The contract has caused controversy over whether internet giants who say they want to make the world better should be involved in the defence industry.

Amazon chief Bezos had defended the company’s bid, saying it was important to support US defence efforts, even if it is an unpopular decision to make for the tech giant.

Trump has lashed out against Bezos several times.

“So many stories about me in [the Washington Post] are Fake News,” Trump tweeted in July 2017. In January, he referred to the newspaper as a “lobbyist newspaper”.

Axios reported that Amazon’s value dropped about $31 billion in a single day after Trump promised to “go after Amazon” in a tweet on March 28 last year.

Microsoft was Amazon’s only rival in the bidding for the winner-take-all contract, despite employees urging it to drop out.

“Many Microsoft employees don’t believe that what we build should be used for waging war,” read a post on Medium.

“The contract is massive in scope and shrouded in secrecy, which makes it nearly impossible to know what we as workers would be building.”

Microsoft has defended its interest in military contracts, saying: “All of us who live in this country depend on its strong defence.”

Google had dropped its bid for the contract, saying the deal would be inconsistent with its principles.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants

  • Time to Rise by rapper, chapei legend is viral hit with ancient-modern mix

    Kong Nay is known internationally as the master of the chapei dang veng, a traditional Cambodian instrument resembling a long-necked lute or guitar with two nylon strings that he was already playing professionally by the age of 15. Nay is sometimes referred to as the Cambodian