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Judge Will Decide If Amazon Gets To Build the CIA a Cloud

A $600 million award is under protest


Amazon (AMZN) surprised the enterprise world in August. It wants a judge to rule in its tiff with IBM (IBM) over the CIA’s $600 million cloud.

On Wednesday we learned that a judge will hear oral starting October 7, from Gigaom’s Barb Darrow.

The drama began in March, when news broke that Amazon won a huge contract with the CIA. This cloud would be a game-changer in the industry for a couple of reasons.  It was for a so-called “private cloud” meaning it would reside in the CIA’s data center, not Amazon’s.  Amazon is by far the largest cloud computing vendor, but this would be its first-ever private cloud.

The cloud was for the CIA. Many of Amazon’s competitors position themselves as being more secure and reliable than Amazon. If the CIA thought Amazon’s cloud tech was secure and reliable enough, then other enterprises would, too.

But IBM, which had put in a competitive bid, protested the CIA award. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigated and found that Amazon’s bid was a whopping $54 million higher than IBM’s. It asked the CIA to go back through the bidding process and the CIA agreed.

But instead of submitting another bid, Amazon filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Federal Court of Claims. It argued that IBM’s protest was flawed and that the CIA should be able to stick with its original decision to award the contract to Amazon.

Through it all, Amazon and the CIA have been fairly tight-lipped about the cloud itself. Most of what we’ve learned has been through court documents. If nothing else, the trial should shed more light on the CIA’s big cloud plans, whoever gets to build it.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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