After 'Screw Amazon' Order, Microsoft Wins $10B Contract

By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2019 10:02 AM CDT
$10B Defense Contract Goes to Microsoft, to Amazon's Surprise
President Trump talks with Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, and Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, at the White House in 2017.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Microsoft has won its competition with Amazon for a $10 billion, 10-year contract to handle the military's cloud computing needs after a contentious process that involved the president. Amazon Web Services does the same thing for the CIA and seemed to have the inside track. "We're surprised," a spokesperson told NPR, adding that "a detailed assessment purely on the comparative offerings clearly lead to a different conclusion." The CEO of Amazon is Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, and President Trump regularly attacks both. A new book says Trump called James Mattis, defense secretary at the time, in 2018 and told him to "screw Amazon" on the bidding. Mattis told his staff instead that "this will be done by the book, both legally and ethically," per CNBC.

"I'm getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon," Trump said in 2018. "We'll take a very strong look at it." Trump wasn't alone: Competitors IBM, Oracle and Microsoft had complained that the Defense Department had unfairly favored Amazon. It would be illegal for the president to influence the decision, and Sen. Mark Warner was among those who had questions, tweeting that penalizing Bezos would be "a complete abuse of power." But the Government Accountability Office has since found the contract was awarded fairly. The Pentaton's inspector general is reviewing the deal but has not found anything wrong so far, per CNN. The contract now sets up Microsoft as the government's main provider of cloud computing services, per MarketWatch. The company said it in a statement that it appreciates being chosen. (Read more Microsoft stories.)

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