JEDI is dead. The US Department of Defense has officially scrapped the controversial $10bn cloud contract it awarded to Microsoft in 2019.

Instead, both Microsoft and Amazon will compete for a new contract that has been described as a multi-cloud multi-vendor program.

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract was meant to provide the majority of the data center and Edge compute needs of the world's largest military.

The new contract will be called the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability, or JWCC.

A parting present to Jeff Bezos as he steps down

Microsoft Azure Clippy Soldier
– Sebastian Moss/DCD

JEDI was dogged with criticism and complaints from the start of the procurement process.

Essentially every cloud provider but frontrunner Amazon complained that the single-source contract made for a worse platform - although their criticism was motivated by the fact that most did not meet the stringent requirements set by the DoD to even compete.

Those requirements, which appeared perfectly suited for Amazon Web Services, were themselves the point of much contention. Oracle pointed to several DoD employees involved in JEDI who would go on to work with or for Amazon, or that had an existing business relationship.

Multiple subsequent investigations have failed to find any substantial impropriety, but Oracle is still fighting the case in court - most recently trying to pull in the Supreme Court. It also managed to get a document alleging a vast Amazon conspiracy onto the desk of then-President Trump.

At the same time, Trump was publicly criticizing Amazon and founder Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post.

When, after several delays, the DoD awarded Microsoft the contract, Amazon immediately cried foul. The company pointed to Trump's public comments, as well as reports on private ones, to allege a pattern of interference by the President that may have led to it being dropped from the bidding process. The DoD and Microsoft have long denied the allegation.

The Department of Defense Inspector General cleared the military's decision to award JEDI to Microsoft. But, crucially, the IG admitted that it was unable to fully investigate White House interference "because of the assertion of a 'presidential communications privilege.'

Amazon took both the DoD and Microsoft to court, with the case still ongoing. As part of the suit, Amazon successfully got the court to hold up JEDI until the case concludes.

This year, the DoD tried to get parts of the case dropped, particularly the requests to depose Trump officials (and maybe the former President himself), something that could take a significant time. The Pentagon argued that such a process would delay JEDI beyond the point of usefulness, impacting national security.

Now, the DoD has followed through with its threat. JEDI is over, and it is starting again - although it will stick to its stringent requirements.

"The Department intends to seek proposals from a limited number of sources, namely the Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) and Amazon Web Services (AWS), as available market research indicates that these two vendors are the only Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) capable of meeting the Department’s requirements," the department said.

Microsoft shares fell more than one percent, while Amazon's jumped more than three percent.

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