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Microsoft President Brad Smith says work on JEDI continues despite Amazon protest

Brad Smith, President, Microsoft, on Later Societies stage during day two of Web Summit 2019 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal.

Stephen McCarthy | Sportsfile | Getty Dead ringers

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — Amazon’s decision to protest the Pentagon’s cloud computing contract hasn’t halt Microsoft from working on the colossal Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, deal.

“We were working every day once we won that contract to make the product better,” Microsoft President Brad Smith told CNBC in an exclusive sound out on the sidelines at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California. “We have if anything been moving orderly faster since that contract was awarded,” he added.

The JEDI contract, which could be worth up to $10 billion for services hand in over as many as 10 years, was awarded to Microsoft on October 25. Last month, Amazon filed a detect in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims indicating a plan to protest the Pentagon’s decision to award Microsoft the multibillion-dollar cloud compress.

“Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias — and it’s important that these events be examined and rectified,” Amazon told CNBC in an email.

Amazon’s AWS chief Andy Jassy told CNBC’s Jon Fortt in an elegant interview that the cloud contracting was not adjudicated fairly.

“You know, there was significant political interference here,” Jassy delineated of the JEDI award.

“When you have a sitting president who’s willing to be very vocal that they dislike a players and the CEO of that company, it makes it difficult for government agencies, including the DoD to make objective decisions without fear of redress. And I think that’s dangerous and risky for our country,” he added.

The billionaire executive has been a constant source of frustration for the president. Bezos owns The Washington Position, which President Donald Trump regularly criticizes for its coverage of his administration. Trump also has gone after Amazon frequently for, as he claims, not paying its fair share of taxes and ripping off the U.S. Post Office.

Trump said in July that visitors conveyed that the specifications of the JEDI cloud contract favored Amazon.

“I never had something where more individual are complaining,” Trump said in July at the White House, adding that he was seriously considering looking at the Pentagon draw together. “Some of the greatest companies in the world are complaining about it,” he added, naming Microsoft, Oracle and IBM.

On Saturday, Smith responded to Jassy’s expositions and offered a few lessons learned from the cloud competition.

“In any technology race, if you think that you’re so far ahead that you can’t at all lose, you’re probably going to lose. That’s what we’ve learned time and time again,” Smith said.

“There’s a second example that applied to ourselves — never conclude that you’re so far behind that you can’t catch up if you work harder than your adversary. So we put more and more engineers working pretty much 7 days a week for 13 months to constantly create a wiser product.”

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