SAN FRANCISCO — The Department of Defense on Friday awarded a $10 billion technology contract to Microsoft over Amazon in a contest that was closely watched after President Trump ramped up his criticism of Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, and said he might intervene.
The 10-year contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, known as JEDI, had set off a showdown among Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Google for the right to transform the military’s cloud computing systems. The acrimonious process involved intense lobbying efforts and legal challenges among the rivals.
The contract has an outsize importance because it is central to the Pentagon’s efforts to modernize its technology. Much of the military operates on 1980s and 1990s computer systems, and the Defense Department has spent billions of dollars trying to make them talk to one another.
The decision was a surprise because Amazon had been considered the front-runner, in part because it had built cloud services for the Central Intelligence Agency. But that was before Mr. Trump became publicly hostile to Mr. Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post. The president often refers to the newspaper as the “Amazon Washington Post” and has accused it of spreading “fake news.”
Karen Evans may no longer be working in the federal government, but as national director of the U.S. Cyber Challenge — created to “identify, attract, recruit and place the next generation of cybersecurity professionals” — she still has a profound impact on the federal IT community. Evans was a member of the Trump transition team, and under President George W. Bush, she was administrator of the Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology in the Office of Management and Budget — the role that served as the precursor to what is now the U.S. CIO. She passed on to FedScoop the best advice she’s ever gotten: “Be nice to the people on the way up, many of them will be the same people you see on the way down,” she said.