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No return of the JEDI: Supreme Court declines to hear Oracle's challenge to now-dead cloud deal

Blown up like a Death Star

The US Supreme Court has brushed off Oracle’s complaint that it wasn't awarded the Pentagon's $10bn winner-takes-all Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract.

On Monday, the top judges declined to hear the database giant's case filed back in January. At the time, the Dept of Defense hadn’t yet cancelled its ten-year mega-IT deal that was awarded to Microsoft in 2019. Oracle and Amazon Web Services protested and attempted to overturn that decision by suing the federal government.

Oracle claimed it was unfair for the DoD to award the contract to a sole company, and that there were clear conflicts of interests in the procurement process since AWS was actively trying to recruit a government employee handling the negotiations.

Oracle’s case was passed to the US Court of Federal Claims, who previously ruled the biz never had a good chance of winning the contract because it was unable to fulfill the requirement of “hav[ing] at least three commercial cloud-hosting data centres within the US, separated by at least 150 miles, along with various other security standards.”

Still, Big Red refused to give up. It appealed its case all the way to the Supreme Court. The US government told the justices the case ought to be rejected given that Oracle wouldn’t have won the contract anyway. The ongoing legal spats, however, were made pointless when the Pentagon scrapped JEDI in July.

Despite this, Oracle still thought the case was worth pursuing considering the DoD had replaced the cloud project with the new “Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC)” contract. The JWCC deal has been limited to AWS and Microsoft only. We note that Oracle says it does more than $28bn a year in cloud revenues.

"Cases do not become moot simply because a defendant issues a press release claiming to have ceased its misconduct," Oracle said in its complaint.

“The government asserts that the Department of Defense mooted this case by cancelling JEDI, the procurement contract that Oracle has challenged...Far from making it 'absolutely clear' that the challenged misconduct will not recur, the Department essentially admits the challenged misconduct will continue – and will continue to prejudice Oracle.”

All of the company’s protests over JEDI, however, have been thrown out now that the Supreme Court has denied its petition. Oracle declined to comment on the judgment. ®

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