Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy doesn’t believe that his company lost an objective competition for the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract.
Rather, when asked Wednesday about his company’s decision to protest Microsoft‘s award of the potential $10 billion Department of Defense contract, Jassy said, “we feel pretty strongly that it was not adjudicated fairly.”
“I think if you do a truly objective, detailed, apples-to-apples comparison of the platforms, you don’t end up in the spot where that decision is made,” Jassy told reporters at his company’s annual re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. “Most of our customers tell us that we’re a couple years ahead, both with regard to functionality and maturity. And I think that you end up with a situation with significant political interference.”
Jassy stopped short of giving specific details of what exactly AWS is alleging in its bid protest, which it recently filed with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims under seal. But he tried to convey how this alleged bias could negatively impact national security and defense.
“I mean you have a sitting president who’s willing to share openly his disdain for a company and the leader of that company and it makes it really difficult for government agencies” to make an objective decision “without fear of reprisal,” Jassy said of Trump’s public jeering targeted at Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post.
“I think it’s really risky for the country and for democracy,” he said. “We’re talking about the national security of our country and modernizing their technology platforms, the foundation on which all the applications that are going to be used to protect our country, you have to make sure that those decisions are made truly objectively.”
Jassy seemed to hint that AWS could have specific evidence of this from the debrief the company received on its loss of the contract.
“I know the respective offerings quite well. And I know the components quite well. And I also know what the criteria was for JEDI,” he said. “And we got a lot of information about the evaluation. So I’ll leave it at that I feel pretty strongly that it was not adjudicated fairly.”
In a separate interview with CNBC, Jassy said about the debrief on the evaluation process, “after we looked at the data carefully, there was very little question” on whether the company would protest the award. “I think we have to shine a light on what happened here.”