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Huge political interference in Microsoft’s Pentagon win: AWS CEO

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Las Vegas, Dec 5 (IANS) In yet another strong public rebuke of Microsoft who has won the prestigious $10 billion Pentagon Cloud project, Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Andy Jassy said the US government’s decision to award the project to the Satya Nadella-run company was done under significant political interference.

Addressing a news conference here during AWS ‘re: Invent’ conference being attended by over 60,000 people, Jassy said on Wednesday: "It’s fairly obvious that we feel pretty strongly that it (the deal) was not adjudicated fairly.

"If you do a truly objective, detailed and apples-to-apples comparison with the platforms, you don’t end up in a spot where the decision was made."

Amazon’s Cloud arm has already filed a lawsuit in the Court of Federal Claims challenging the Department of Defence’s move to award the JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure) contract to Microsoft that will provide enterprise level, commercial Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) to support Department of Defence business and mission operations.

US President Donald Trump, who has been a critic of Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos over the company’s tax arrangements, got involved during the bidding process, saying the government was looking at the contract after "getting enormous complaints" from the competitors.

"You ended up with a situation where there was significant political interference," Jassy told the reporters.

"When you have a sitting president who is willing to share openly his disdain for a company and the leader of that company, it makes it really difficult for government agencies, including the DoD, to make an objective decision without fear of reprisal," the AWS CEO emphasised.

In his keynote address a day earlier, Jassy targeted Microsoft, criticising its licensing practices and making a pitch for open-source Linux operating system over Windows.

Quoting IDC numbers that in 2020, about 80 per cent of the workloads deployed will be Linux workloads, Jassy said customers are not so keen about having one company’s operating system any more.

He attacked Windows and SQL Server software in the Cloud using existing licenses.

"If you look at Windows, 57 per cent of Windows in the cloud runs on AWS operating system rather than Azure. You see this return to the ways of old from Microsoft where they’re not prioritising what matters to you guys, the customers. People are sick and tired of being pawns in this game," the AWS CEO informed.

AWS is currently a $36 billion business for Amazon. AWS has garnered 47.8 per cent of the global market for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) while Microsoft is just around 15.5 per cent, according to Gartner.