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US Department of Defense to fling $1.76bn at Microsoft

Enough to build a Wall.... of Windows consultants around Washington

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has announced a contract worth an estimated $1.76bn for Microsoft Enterprise Services.

The contract, which is set to run for five years until 10 Jan 2024, will see the Windows giant supplying the DoD, the US Coast Guard and intelligence community with a variety of services, such as support for tools, access to knowledgebases and the slightly ominous “custom changes to Microsoft source-code when applicable”.

Winning the contract doesn’t means Nadella and co can expect to see Redmond’s coffers immediately swell to the tune of nearly two billion dollars. Funds will instead be disbursed on individual task orders.

Just over a month ago, six Microsoft resellers were awarded a place on a DoD framework that will allow them to bid for projects as they arise over the next decade. This agreement, like the latest, was signed under the DoD’s Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI).

One hundred thousand lucky US military employees are also due to slap on Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headset after the DoD coughed $480m for them in an agreement announced at the end of November.

US Government workers, currently wondering how they will pay their utility bills for all the daytime television they are watching at the moment as the Great Government Shutdown drags on into its 24th day, will note that the total cost of the DoD's work with Microsoft comes to $5.41bn or “almost a Wall” (or at least the amount President Donald Trump has asked for) in the current vernacular of Washington.

The win will do no harm to Microsoft’s attempts to persuade the Pentagon that its snout (rather than the likes of Amazon’s) is best suited to the $10bn due to be tipped into the federal funding trough as part of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI).

The award of another DoD contract may, however, add to the increasing angst among some within the walls of Redmond over the sale of its technology for military purposes. Back in October, Microsoft’s Brad Smith said the company felt that those who defend the US should have access to the best tech (ie, Microsoft’s) and, while the company was all about ethics in Artificial Intelligence, if an employee didn’t like it, then the software giant would find them work elsewhere.

Probably working on a service pack for Clippy. ®

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