AWS re:Invent 2019: Jassy Pushes Back on JEDI Award to Microsoft

The AWS CEO spoke publicly this week about the controversial project.

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

December 6, 2019

4 Min Read
Push back against controversy

AWS RE:INVENT — As AWS re:Invent 2019 came to a close on Friday, vendor news announcements had slowed to a trickle even as the event continued making headlines.


AWS’s Andy Jassy

One of the biggest tidbits to emerge over the past two days was AWS CEO Andy Jassy’s interview with CNBC, in which he stated that the Defense Department’s award of the JEDI cloud project to Microsoft Azure was not “adjudicated fairly.”

“I think anybody who does a detailed apples-to-apples comparison of the platforms doesn’t come out the same spot this procurement did,” Jassy told CNBC. “Most of our customers tell us we’re about a couple years ahead of anybody else with regard to functionality and maturity. There was significant political interference here.”

Analysts and other industry observers had speculated for months that President Trump’s public beef with Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos (who also owns The Washington Post, which is critical of Trump) would play a role in JEDI’s outcome, and it appears those predictions were accurate.

“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 [Defense Department], to make an objective decision without fear of reprisal,” Jassy told reporters on Wednesday, according to NextGov.

The U.S. Department of Defense in late October named Microsoft as the winner of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract that could be worth up to $10 billion. In an unprecedented move, the DoD planned to align with only one vendor; a pending lawsuit by Oracle contends, in part, that the single-provider setup is illegal.

Meanwhile, Amazon took a little longer than expected to register its formal protest but did so in November. There is no clear insight yet into how, when or whether the federal courts will handle JEDI’s lingering issues, or whether Microsoft will be allowed to start working on the project in the intervening weeks or months.


AWS’s Werner Vogels

Separately, AWS used CTO Werner Vogels on Thursday to announce the Amazon Builders Library. The resource is packed with articles that share “exactly how we build and run our systems,” AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr wrote in a blog.

“This library is designed to give you direct access to the theory and the practices that underlie our work,” he added.

Channel partners who like to get into the technical nitty-gritty of AWS can take advantage of the Builders Library, as can developers, architects, CTOs and other parties.

Finally, there were some lingering AWS-related announcements from vendors of interest to the channel.

Zendesk Chooses Amazon Connect for Talk Partner Edition

Zendesk Inc., a CRM software developer that teams with partners, said this week it has chosen Amazon Connect as the preferred contact center voice platform for deploying Zendesk Talk Partner Edition around the world.

Zendesk and AWS partners can integrate an existing contact center solution with Zendesk Support using Talk Partner Edition, in all major geographies, Zendesk said.

The integration supports sophisticated AI and…

…machine learning services from AWS to improve contact center agent efficiency, while reducing the time callers/chatters spend with customer service, according to Zendesk.

ClearDATA Unveils New SaaS Platform

ClearDATA, which sells through the channel, released a new SaaS platform for health care organizations.


ClearDATA’s Suhas Kelkar

ClearDATA Comply monitors and manages privacy and compliance obligations, and provides remediation, in the cloud.

With Comply, AI, machine learning and other cloud-centric technologies “become more accessible to health care–mitigating risk in the background and automatically enforcing compliance,” Suhas Kelkar, chief product officer at ClearDATA said in a press release.


ClearDATA’s Darin Brannan

Darin Brannan, CEO of ClearDATA, agreed.

“We’ve brought a solution to market that effectively manages the life cycle of compliance for wherever health care organizations are with their cloud strategy,” he said.

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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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