Procurement Bias Alleged in Amazon Microsoft Procurement Competition

October 28, 2019

DarkCyber noted “Trump Ordered Mattis to “Screw Amazon” Out of Pentagon Contract, Book Alleges.” If the allegation is accurate, the Federal procurement process is not above influence. If the allegations are not accurate, firing people who get quoted may be a bad idea. Maybe both statements are accurate?

The write up reports second or third hand:

Trump called Mattis in the summer of 2018 and directed him to “screw Amazon” out of a chance to bid on a $10 billion cloud networking contract.


The shift to the cloud is an important step for the Department of Defense. An error might have a few minor downsides: Loss of life, intelligence failures, increased and unbudgeted triage expenses, and increased friction in data-centric processes.

The upside is that the Department of Defense has made a decision.

Several questions arise and may be worth considering:

First, will there be review processes? The allegation about instructions from the White House are, if true, reasonably clear.

Second, will Microsoft be able to deliver the cloud solutions the Department of Defense requires? There are a few—how shall I phrase it—impediments to effective use of information technology which must be addressed. These are a bit more challenging than shipping software updates which create problems for users.

Third, can Microsoft navigate around Amazon’s patent fences? Some of the functionality which seems to be important to the DoD are within an Amazon patent fence. If Microsoft crawls under one of these fences, Amazon may sue. The litigation and any penalties might chew into Microsoft’s profit from the hard-won deal. (Are there examples? Yes, and I address these in my chapter for a forthcoming book, but the information is not for a free blog post on a chill Sunday morning, gentle reader. Alas!)

Net net: DarkCyber has a premonition that the MSFT JEDI assertions may make Holding the Line: Inside Trump’s Pentagon with Secretary Mattis a best seller.

Intriguing. Mad Dog becomes a celebrity author.

Stephen E Arnold, October 28, 2019



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