President Donald Trump heard about how Amazon is likely going to win a massive Pentagon contract for cloud computing from one of the company’s competitors during a White House dinner Tuesday, Bloomberg reported.
Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz accompanied Trump supporter and tech billionaire Peter Thiel at dinner, where sources say the group discussed a $10 billion Department of Defense contract potentially worth $10 billion Amazon and Oracle both want.
Trump wanted the contract competition to be fair but offered to intercede in the process, as he has done with Pentagon contracts in the past, he said, according to the sources.
Trump’s public criticisms of Amazon on Twitter and elsewhere have centered around the second-largest company using the Postal Service as a “delivery boy” and putting brick-and-mortar retail stores out of business.
But Oracle recently complained the dominance of Amazon Web Services in the IT space represents it’s own threat to open competition. A company that partners with AWS won a five-year contract from the the U.S. Transportation Command in February, sparking fears AWS would have an advantage in winning future contracts.
The Pentagon said that it still may seek multiple vendors, but Oracle, which also competed for that contract, said picking a vendor that uses Amazon before selecting the cloud provider was an odd way to go about managing the DOD’s cloud migration.
“If in fact you’re going to have an open competition and an industry day to have a multi-vendor opportunity for the cloud, then how does it makes sense to spend a billion dollars to move to Amazon’s cloud before you’ve made the decision of what cloud you’re moving to?” Oracle Vice President Ken Glueck told The Washington Post — owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — in an interview.
“You would think they’d pick what cloud they want to go to first then decide what migration service system needed to move, if any,” Glueck said.
Oracle and a host of other vendors and partners will complete for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) Cloud contract, which is scheduled to be awarded later in the summer.
Trump has intervened on other Pentagon contracts in the past, particularly tweeting about the high price of Lockheed Martin’s F-35. Trump reportedly called an Air Force official to discuss the F-35 contract while the CEO of Lockheed’s competitor, Boeing, was in the room.
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