'Screw Amazon' out of a $10-Bln JEDI contract, President Donald Trump told Defence Secretary

Trump's personal dislike for Jeff Bezos influenced the Pentagon decision to award the $10 billion cloud contract to Microsoft, says new book.

US Pentagon
US Pentagon YouTube grab

The US Defence Department's decision to award the $10 billion contract for managing US the military's cloud computing services for ten years to Microsoft surprised industry experts and political observer's alike. The Pentagon cloud contract especially shocked Amazon and Jeff Bezos as Amazon Web Services (AWS) is seen as an out and out leader in this segment. The reason behind the surprise choice of Microsoft was nothing other than President Donald Trump's deep dislike for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

A soon-to-be published book has revealed that Trump had ordered then defence secretary James Mattis to "screw Amazon" out of a $10 billion cloud deal. The book titled "Holding The Line: Inside Trump's Pentagon with Secretary Mattis" was written by Guy Snodgrass, who served as a speechwriter for Mattis, according to CNBC.

"Relaying the story to us during Small Group, Mattis said, 'We're not going to do that. This will be done by the book, both legally and ethically,'" Snodgrass wrote in the book. Bezos is a constant thorn on Trump's side. The billionaire owns influential daily Washington Post, and Trump says the paper's coverage is biased against him.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos IANS

Trump had voiced his opposition to Amazon getting the lucrative ten-year deal in July this year. "I'm getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon ... We're getting tremendous, really, complaints from other companies and from great companies," Trump said, according to NPR. "I will be asking them to look at it very closely to see what's going on because I have had very few things where there's been such complaining ... We'll take a very strong look at it," he added.

IBM and Oracle also opposed move

Rivals such as IBM and Oracle had also opposed the move to award the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, contract to Amazon. Several US lawmakers had also opposed the move. Amazon is managing the cloud computing services for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) currently.

"We're surprised about this conclusion. AWS is the clear leader in cloud computing, and a detailed assessment purely on the comparative offerings clearly lead to a different conclusion," an AWS spokesperson said in a statement.

Shares in Microsoft jumped about 3 percent after it won the contract, while Amazon fell about 1 percent.