Amazon to protest Pentagon award of cloud contract to Microsoft
Robie de Guzman • November 15, 2019 • 669
San Francisco, USA – The United States tech multinational Amazon announced Thursday that it would protest the Pentagon’s award to Microsoft of a cloud computing contract valued at up to $10 billion.
Amazon’s cloud unit Amazon Web Services had been the favorite to win and already had a contract with the Central Intelligence Agency.
Its founder Jeff Bezos is often a target of US President Donald Trump’s ire. Bezos also the Washington Post – one of the news outlets most critical of the president’s administration and which has been the subject of his outbursts.
The Seattle company said in a statement that “numerous aspects of the JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias, and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified.”
“We also believe it’s critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence,” AWS said.
The comment appeared to be directed at Trump, who on July 19 called for an investigation of the Pentagon contract.
“I’m getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and Amazon,” Trump told reporters at the time. “I will be asking them to look very closely to see what’s going on,” he added, according to EFE/Dow Jones.
The Pentagon has more than 500 separate clouds. The JEDI contract is designed to serve as an umbrella system to rationalize that number and provide the military with access to services that better keep up with the pace of technology in civilian markets.
In addition to the economic value of the deal itself, its importance goes even further as the Pentagon’s largest technology contract in history is seen as a pioneer that other government agencies would follow.
At the time of announcing the award, the Department of Defense assured that all parties “were treated fairly and evaluated consistently with the solicitation’s stated evaluation criteria.” – EFE-EPA
Amazon.com Inc said on Monday (March 16) it would hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the United States to tackle a surge in online orders, as consumers shop heavily fearing the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
Amazon said it would invest over $350 million to raise the pays for these employees in the U.S. and Canada by $2 an hour, 2 pounds in the UK and about 2 euros in the European Union.
It currently pays $15 an hour for workers in its U.S. fulfillment centers.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced on Friday that he is stepping down from the company’s board to spend more time on philanthropic activities.
Gates will also step down from the board of Berkshire Hathaway, an investment company owned by investment mogul Warren Buffett.
Gates, 65, wrote on LinkedIn that this is the right time to focus on more humanitarian pursuits.
“I have made the decision to step down from both of the public boards on which I serve – Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway – to dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities including global health and development, education, and my increasing engagement in tackling climate change. The leadership at the Berkshire companies and Microsoft has never been stronger, so the time is right to take this step,” he wrote.
Moreover, he said that resigning from the board does not mean stepping away from the company.
“With respect to Microsoft, stepping down from the board in no way means stepping away from the company. Microsoft will always be an important part of my life’s work and I will continue to be engaged with Satya and the technical leadership to help shape the vision and achieve the company’s ambitious goals,” he wrote on LinkedIn.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, said that Microsoft has benefited from Gates’ leadership and vision and will continue to promote Gates’ passion for technology and promote the advancement of products and services.
In 1975, Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft, the world’s largest computer operating system maker and also one of the world’s major cloud computing service providers. Gates served as Microsoft’s CEO until Steve Ballmer took over in 2000.
As of now, Microsoft’s market value has reached 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars. Since 2008, Gates has devoted more time to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. (Reuters)
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Thursday (October 24) criticised Turkey for its military incursion into Syria, saying it had put the U.S. and its allies in a “very terrible situation”.
Last week, Esper said he would press NATO allies “to take collective and individual diplomatic and economic measures in response” to Turkey’s incursion into northeastern Syria, even as critics have pointed out that U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision enabled the Turkish offensive. Earlier this month, Trump announced that the United States would be withdrawing its troops from northeastern Syria, clearing the way for Turkish troops to launch an offensive against Kurdish fighters in the area.
“There was not a possibility that we were going to start a war with a NATO ally,” Esper said.
Speaking at an event organised in Brussels by the German Marshall Fund think tank, the Defense Secretary urged Ankara to demonstrate that it was still a “responsible” NATO ally.
The American pullout from northeastern Syria has raised concern that it could allow a resurgence of Islamic State militants.
Esper said he already talked to his British and French counterparts and that the U.S. was still committed to continue the fight against Islamic State militants. He was expected to discuss the topic further at a meeting of NATO defence ministers later in the day. (Reuters)
(Production: Christian Levaux, Jorrit Donner-Wittkopf)
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