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Looks like NSA now stands for Not Selecting Azure: US spy agency picks AWS over Microsoft

Déjà vu time as $10bn contract award attracts the inevitable bid protest

In a classic role reversal, Microsoft is protesting the award of a lucrative contract by the US National Security Agency to AWS.

As reported by NextGov, AWS could be on the receiving end of up to $10bn under the NSA contract, which comes just a month after the Pentagon killed off the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) IT contract. That $10bn decade-long, single-vendor, winner-takes-all cloud deal was awarded to Microsoft in 2019, and its rivals, including Amazon and Oracle, unleashed the lawyers in response.

The Register contacted the NSA to confirm details and we were told by a spokesperson:

"NSA recently awarded a contract for cloud computing services to support the Agency. The unsuccessful offeror has filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The Agency will respond to the protest in accordance with appropriate federal regulations."

And protesting Microsoft most certainly is. Although the company told us: "We have nothing to share," in response to our query, it filed a Bid Protest last month, which is due on 29 October 2021.

Amazon similarly stayed quiet, referring us to the NSA for comment. Well – it is supposed to be super hush-hush after all.

The contract's codename was said, by NextGov, to be "WildandStormy" which sounds more like an exotic cocktail or the mood of an alleged former presidential conquest rather than the shunting of classified information into AWS's cloud (and cash into its coffers).

AWS has form with US agencies and, JEDI aside, has proven adept at scooping up awards. In 2013 it scored a $600m agreement to build a cloud for the CIA (IBM filed a protest about that one). AWS was also one of the cloud giants on the receiving end of further largesse from the the agency last year.

With a response to Microsoft's protest due at the end of October, there is just enough time to stock up on popcorn before the inevitable sueballs start flying. ®

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