AZURE MAKES IT TO THE MILITARY ZONE
At long last, DoD’s (US Department of Defense) controversial $10 billion JEDI cloud contract has just been awarded to Microsoft over Amazon.
The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud deal is expected to last 10 years with DoD spending about $210 million on the first 2 years.
This award has survived filed, verbal, published and of course, in-house oppositions. One of the earliest was from Microsoft employees who protested against bidding for the JEDI project as it was perceived to be a violent application of AI technology.
The protest was fueled by DoD’s first chief management officer; Jay Gibson, when he highlighted the objective of the project as thus “This program is truly about increasing the lethality of our department and providing the best resources to our men and women in uniform.”
Microsoft however, went on to bid for the JEDI contract and made it to the final stage with Amazon. According to Pentagon, Amazon and Microsoft were the only participants that met the minimum requirements for the JEDI project.
The decision to have Microsoft and Amazon as the final competitors was criticized by Oracle and IBM alleging a foul play and claiming that the JEDI project should not be awarded to a single provider respectively.
These allegations and other concerns were eventually dismissed after series of investigations which later involved legislators and the presidency.
Winning this contract is of great benefit to Microsoft, as the company will be exposed to similar contracts. More interestingly, Microsoft shares rise 3.4% to $145.50 premarket, just after the company was announced winner of the Pentagon’s cloud computing contract.
Using Azure, JEDI will also provide crucial enterprise cloud services to the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), the Pentagon’s new ambitious effort to build AI systems for warfighting.
According to DoD, there will be other cloud contracts. Already, Pentagon has spent $11 billion on other cloud deals in the past two years. JEDI is expected to form the backbone of the military’s computing needs.