The news: The Department of Defense has released a notice stating that it would solicit bids from Google Cloud and Oracle in addition to JEDI finalists Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is in line with a distributed multi-vendor approach, per Protocol.
How we got here: While Google stayed out of the JEDI bid—mostly because of employee fallout on the ethical use of its technology in military operations—the search giant made a case that Microsoft’s dominance in government office software made it harder for competing companies to land contracts.
An Omdia report commissioned by Google revealed that Microsoft has an overwhelming “share of up to 85% in the US government office productivity software market.” This led to a culture of familiarity where Microsoft became the government’s preferred provider due to existing contracts.
The bigger picture: A multi-cloud, multi-vendor approach to a large defense project ensures that various stakeholders are kept in check, with no one company pulling all the strings, and guarantees competition over price and the extent of each provider’s involvement.
What’s next? The final four companies can now submit proposals and enter the next phase of negotiations with the Pentagon, a process that might take significantly longer to play out.
What’s the catch? Managing multiple vendors with similar agendas will be a challenge and could hinder short-term progress, further delaying the military’s cloud modernization process.
Why this could succeed: If managed successfully, however, collaboration between the country’s largest cloud providers and their technologies could yield a more resilient defense infrastructure solution.