The U.S. Government and Accountability Office has rejected a protest leveled by Oracle against the process for awarding the ten-year, $10 billion cloud computing contract under consideration by the Department of Defense, ruling that the DoD followed all the relevant statutes.
Oracle has been trying to throw a wrench into the bidding process for Pentagon’s cloud contract all year, arguing that the bidding was rigged to favor Amazon Web Services and criticizing the decision to award the entire prize to a single bidder, rather than splitting it up across several different cloud services providers. That insistence on a single bidder has more or less ruled out everyone other than AWS or Microsoft, given the scale of those two operations and the number of federal cloud computing certifications they have already been awarded.
“GAO’s decision concludes that the Defense Department’s decision to pursue a single-award approach to obtain these cloud services is consistent with applicable statutes (and regulations) because the agency reasonably determined that a single-award approach is in the government’s best interests for various reasons, including national security concerns, as the statute allows,” said Ralph White, managing associate general counsel for procurement law at the GAO, in a statement. The GAO also said that the Pentagon “provided reasonable support for all of the solicitation provisions that Oracle contended exceeded the agency’s needs,” referring to the technical requirements that the DoD set as a baseline for bidders.
Oracle’s hopes of winning this contract were pretty slim, considering it’s having trouble convincing companies with much more basic cloud computing needs to bet on its technology. Had the Pentagon split the contract across multiple providers it might have had a chance to win database work, but Oracle’s cloud infrastructure computing services aren’t competitive.
The GAO still has yet to rule on a similar protest from IBM, which it signaled it will do in January. The Pentagon is not expected to announce a winner for the contract until next spring.