Feeds

Amazon legal filing torpedoes Big Blue's spook cloud dreams

Bezos & Co bring in the lawyers to get lucrative CIA cloud contract through

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Amazon and IBM's tussle for a multi-million dollar government cloud contract has moved to DEFCON 3 when Amazon challenged the CIA's decision to take another look at the two companies' bids.

In a complaint filed with the US Court Of Federal Claims on Wednesday, Amazon tried to short-circuit any future attempts by IBM to protest the CIA's choice of Amazon, should the agency pick Bezos & Co again for the basis of a massive cloud project.

The CIA had originally awarded Amazon the contract over IBM on the grounds that Amazon's proposed technology was superior (though more expensive), and the company posed a less risky proposition as a vendor than IBM. Big Blue lawyered up and disputed this, arguing that its own proposal had not been evaluated properly by the CIA.

The government accountability office (GAO) recognized two of IBM's points and the CIA is understood to have taken the organization's recommendations to reopen the contract with both companies./

Now, Amazon is putting its lawyers to work in an attempt to prevent IBM from contesting future CIA decisions, and to perhaps get the existing mooted contract through sooner than would otherwise happen.

"We believe strongly that the CIA got it right the first time," an Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement given to The Register. "Providing true cloud computing services to the intelligence community requires a transformative approach with superior technology."

"We believe that the CIA selected AWS based on AWS's technically superior, best value solution, which will allow the Agency to rapidly innovate while delivering the confidence and security assurance needed for mission-critical systems. We look forward to a fast resolution so the Agency can move forward with this important contract."

To say that Amazon being awarded the contract caused anxiety at IBM is an understatement – government contracts are the grass that IBM uses to make its piles of hay, and for another vendor to appear on the field poses a major strategic threat to the company. IBM was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.

We understand that as this is a new contract neither Amazon or IBM had any significant presence inside the CIA for a technology of this type before, and so the contract represents not only a big wedge of money, but a chance for either vendor to lead a new project within an influential part of the government.

Given the CIA's immense information processing and storage needs, this contract has the potential to be very, very sticky, so if Amazon gets inside the agency then IBM, HP and other traditional enterprise IT firms will have to face a brash incumbent on their home turf.

This is how momentous technology changes happen – not with fluffy press releases or exciting new technology, but with procedural legal tussles between companies as they vie to get their technology into the most lucrative, change averse environment – the government. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.