The Pentagon may pull the plug on Microsoft’s $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract thanks to incessant litigation from Amazon, which feels it was slighted for political reasons.
“We’re going to have to assess where we are with regard to the ongoing litigation around JEDI and determine what the best path forward is for the department,” Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said, noting that the department was now reviewing the award.
The JEDI contract is mired in political troubles triggered by the controversial previous White House administration, which had a personal agenda against Jeff Bezos because the Amazon founder and CEO also owns The Washington Post, a publication that was highly critical of the ex-president during his contentious time in office. Bezos and Amazon have long claimed that they had the better bid and lost the contract only because of political reasons.
In September 2020, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that it was moving forward with Microsoft as the winner of its JEDI contract. But a federal judge in April refused a Pentagon request to dismiss Amazon’s lawsuits, leading to the current review, which could be problematic for Microsoft.
Aside from the political angle, there are serious questions about the Pentagon awarding such an important and long-term contract to a single outside company, and it seems like splitting the award between multiple participants would be more prudent for many reasons.