The US Department of Defense (DoD) has revealed Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (ASW) as the two remaining contenders for its $10bn Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract.

The contract is winner-takes-all and one of these companies will work with Pentagon to deliver secure cloud services for no less than ten years.

The cloud offers several benefits to organisations, and could help the DoD to achieve missions more quickly, speed up the innovation process and help businesses to grow by reducing costs.

Both AWS and Microsoft declined to comment on the announcement.

However, it seems that AWS could have the lead on Microsoft after AWS’s successful work with the US Intelligence Community, including providing cloud services to the Central Intelligence Agency under the C2S contract.

AWS is currently the only cloud service provider with the accreditation to address the full range of DoD data classifications – Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret, and Top Secret.

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However, Microsoft’s established history of providing cloud services, with more than 70 compliance offerings and 95% of Fortune 500 companies using the Microsoft cloud.

Other contenders ruled out

The announcement ruled out the other contenders for the JEDI contract – namely IBM and Oracle, as they did not meet the minimum requirements of the contract.

Oracle has been involved in a court case against the US DoD according to Bloomberg. The company filed a lawsuit in the US Court of Federal Claims last December, alleging that a former Oracle employee who worked on the bidding process and now works at ASW had a conflict of interest.

The new announcement, however, inherently marks the end of that legal dispute.

Another original contender, Google, withdrew from the JEDI contract bidding process in October 2018, citing that it preferred a multiple source contract, which would allow the DoD to “choose the right cloud for the right workload”.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement at the time: “We are not bidding on the JEDI contract because first, we couldn’t be assured that it would align with our AI Principles.

“And second, we determined that there were portions of the contract that were out of scope with our current government certifications.”