I know $42MM is pocket change to these companies but this goes a long ways toward removing my perception of the judge being biased.
That perception was possibly influenced by the HN title "Siding with Amazon" vs the title the NY Times used "Judge Halts Work on Microsoft’s JEDI Contract in Victory for Amazon". At no point in the article do the words "sides" or "siding" appear.
Edit: The HN title has been changed since I wrote this.
The NYT changed their headline after publication.
It's not about the judge being biased, but about amazon really having nothing to lose compared to what they could gain, and swinging for the fences. It's also about the next contract.
They're unlikely to prevail, and have already, through their past actions, turned a lot of DoD people against them. If they had performed better with their previous contracts, they would likely have won this.
Also not mentioned here AWS already has GovCloud- there are a number of agencies both federal and state that use AWS. Its not like this contract is the _only_ contract there is to win. Its just a big one. Jeff is a pretty damn sore loser.
This is an underrated commentary.
I'm continually amazed at what transpires in the public forum, leading me to believe that the US Government has been corrupt for quite some time, but never out in the open.
Or, it could be like this https://youtu.be/aI0euMFAWF8
I feel the same way - Trump is not different from other presidents, except that he does everything right out in the open, while the other Presidents kept a veneer of respectability on things.
Turns out most people really prefer to believe that everything is above board.
Believing that the absence of visible corruption is still proof of equivalent invisible corruption is unreasonable.
And side note: corruption in politics is a weighted term. From one perspective, politics is literally the business of corruption. I.e. how to use democratic support to influence policy and procurement.
In the US, until ~1878 (Rutherford B. Hayes presidency), it was the overt policy of both parties that political contributions were the price of office.
And it took the assassination of James A. Garfield in 1881 by a spurned, insane spoils seeker to finally pass reform into law.
Or, "ignorance is bliss."
It's one thing to not be secretive of impropriety--it's another thing to boast about it.
Was sourced in Mattis's biography, written by a "former Mattis speechwriter and communications director". That is absolutely evidence. Now, proving it simply involves this lawsuit and then deposing Mattis to confirm the claim.
We don’t convict people in this country based on hearsay alone.
It's meant to prevent gossip as evidence.
Close, but that's missing an important piece. Hearsay is an out of court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted.
> If Bob confesses to Jane that he killed someone, and Jane is called in a witness in the criminal trial, that's not hearsay.
If offered to prove that Bob killed someone, that would be hearsay. That doesn't mean it couldn't be admitted, though. There are a whole bunch of exceptions to the rule that hearsay is inadmissible  .
That statement would probably be admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence as a "statement against interest" (804(b)(3)) if Bob was not available to testify. It might also be admissible as an "excited utterance" if made right after the killing (803(2)).
> It's hearsay if Jack is called because he heard Jane say Bob told her about the murder.
This one is a good example to illustrate the "offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted" part.
It's hearsay if offered to prove that Bob murdered some. If offered to prove that Jane knew Bob, it would not be hearsay.
Yes, and in your first example, Bob's statement is outside of court, and Jane's description of it is admissible. (Same as how mattis's description of Trump's admission would be admissible)
There are also cases where Jack's statement would be admissible (for example if Jane was unable to be called as a witness).
Who’s getting convicted in this case?
In this case, Mattis is a witness and would be called to testify under oath, under penalty of perjury and subject to cross examination, about statements the president made to him. The president or other witnesses could dispute that, also under oath and subject to perjury charges/cross examination. If they conflict, as they often do, the judge or jury as the case may be decides the case on the merits.
It would be hearsay if they called the biographer and asked him about Mattis's statement.
Furthermore, hearsay is admissible evidence in a number of exceptions that are described in the links I gave you (including excited utterances or statements against interest which may apply here)
It's a vendetta
Rather Trump has a vendetta against Bezos (instead of personal bias).
You have in fact described exactly how most long-term DoD contracts are decided.
There's almost always a losing party who sues.
why not just call a spade a spade?
On Twitter it sounds like Trump has animosity for Bezos, but is there evidence Trump was involved in the process or the process was biased?
I don't think people watching this case would tend to thing the courts would award the contract to Amazon though. That is very much outside the scope of this case, and does not appear to be what Amazon is seeking. The case hinged on the more narrow question of whether the process followed was proper. Even apart from first-hand testimony on pressure, this can be determined in part from the timing and changes to requirements. If the requirements were changed at the last minute to include things that only Microsoft, by definition, could provide, then it's a problem for the DoD. For example, an 11th hour change to stipulate "selected contractor must currently offer per-minute billing on services" could easily be interpreted as unduly biased towards MS. A stipulation saying "Vendor branding of products must reference a shade of blue" (Azure) then that would be a bit of a smoking gun. I mean sure, a ridiculous example, but you see what I mean. And, being a civil case, the burden of proof is not "reasonable doubt", but the much lesser "preponderance of evidence" threshold.
And why do you seem to think that the infrastructure vendor would be required to support the code base of any & all software that runs on it? This isn't a contract for everything that will run in their cloud. This is an infrastructure contract.
Asking for Trump to be deposed is the smartest thing Amazon has done in this case. Of course he will refuse which will lead to an extended court battle to try to force him to be. This will extend the case passed the election and at that point a different administration may decide themselves to scrap the contract award and re-compete it.
You are making the assumption that Trump didn’t actually interfere, or that if he did, Esper and Mattis would lie under oath to protect him.
Everything we know about Trump says he would have no problem interfering. He asked Comey to dismiss the case against Michael Flynn. He ordered OMB to halt disbursement of military aid for his personal political purposes. He was obeyed and if not for a single whistleblower almost got away with it.
Why would we assume he wouldn’t order DoD similarly?
There is reason to believe that Trump tried illegally influence the award. There is also plenty of reason that he was unable to do so because senior subordinates ignored him and protected the process.
Assuming Trump interfered, a rebid is the best possible outcome. It took well over a year for that bid to be completed, meaning by the time this matter is adjudicated, we'll know whether or not Trump is on his way to a second term.
And if not, then there's no way the JEDI contract re-bid will be completed before he's out on Jan 20, 2021.
Trump specifically ordered DoD to review the fundamental deal to make sure it didn't favor Amazon.
Now with that aside, please keep the absolutist politics off of Hackernews. It's the last good sanctuary we have from what the rest of the internet has devolved into. There are plenty of people drawn into the administration's orbit who still have good ideas about product development which I'd like to learn.
Which it's not even up for debate that it did. The Pentagon already runs a ton of Microsoft software - something Amazon has no ability to properly support at this scale.
If the DoD currently has MS systems on traditional infrastructure that they'd like to migrate to the JEDI cloud, there's no reason those couldn't continue to be supported by MS, just as the many other systems that run on the new cloud infrastructure will be supported by their own vendors. I no more expect Amazon to support every piece of software I run on their services than I would expect my appliance repairman to assist with my Hello Fresh cooking (if I had a subscription) just because they "support" my oven.
Citation needed. I didn't think that for a minute. If anything MS was the only sane choice here, for reasons I wrote of above.
>> Trump got involved
Oracle certainly thought Amazon was the front runner, unfairly so, to the point that they began a lawsuit prior to all this current mess.
>>Citation Needed (Trump Got involved) 
When the President expresses a desire to "screw" over a potential vendor, that's getting involved.
> The Pentagon found potential ethical violations by a former Amazon Web Services employee who had worked on JEDI during a stint at the Defense Department, according to a New York Times story. Those potential violations were referred to Office of Inspector General for further investigation.
That's not a "direct quote" by any stretch of imagination.
This is "walls are closing in" and "sources familiar with president's thinking" style news reporting.
As for someone like Mattis, he has shown nothing in his career that I'm aware of that undermines his integrity and desire to serve his country. Yes, he may bear some ill will towards the president, but at least from an outsider view they parted over legitimate policy differences, and there's no reason to believe Mattis would have outright fabricated a quote like "screw Amazon". If we were talking about someone else (maybe John Bolton) I would be more skeptical. Mattis... I'm not saying it's %100, but I'd be more likely than not to believe he was honest in his recounting of that quote. That quote aside, instances where President Trump has bashed Amazon & Bezos are common-- again, the President's twitter feed is a good record on this topic.
This is not the type of circular reasoning you refer to, but I acknowledge that can be an problem... one person speculates, another news source reports on it, a third uses both the first two to paint a picture of consensus. That Mattis quote and President Trumps direct statements elsewhere don't fit that mold.
But lets link it back to the main point at hand: Could even the directly attributable statements from President Trump be taken as involvement, or as potentially influencing the procurement process? That is something reasonable people might disagree about. That is why there is this legal fight. At this point, there is simply too little publicly available information to say "yes" or "no". There is enough to suggest the possibility. The discovery portion of pre-trial will have to investigate to gather more evidence, or fail to do so and not prevail. Currently there's enough to suggest the possibility that a court agrees a case can move forward, but it's important to note this isn't some partisan "never Trumper" decision. The court was still skeptical enough to require nearly $50,000,000 be set aside against the possibility they are wrong and therefore need to cover damages resulting from the suit & project delay.
Regardless, I think we've both said our piece here. I've clarified as best I can, as have you. I don't see much to be gained by going forward. I'll say only that I disagree with your assessment of the situation, but appreciate a dissenting point of to make me think more critically about the topic, and hope you can appreciate that my own opinions come from a place of honest opinion, not some partisan position (I don't fit the mold on either side, and am generally criticized by people on both sides when I don't reflexively support "the party line.) So, thanks for a thought provoking thread.
But the book in question _wasn't by Mattis_. :-)
>> expressed animosity towards Amazon & Jeff Bezos
And Bezos "expressed animosity" towards Trump. Are you suggesting that WaPo doesn't have editorial independence now? Which I'm pretty sure it does not, but it might be news to you if you follow your own logic where "expressing animosity" equates to "interference".
If anything, the terms of the contract were specifically written with features only Amazon can provide, and it was assume it would go to them until Trump cronies at Oracle got his ear.
How about they actually prove they can focus on privacy and be a good implementor for the government? I doubt if they will ever do that. That's the concern.
"Microsoft said Amazon “only provided the speculation of bias, with nothing approaching the ‘hard facts’ necessary” to demand them."
He may have applied improper pressure but I wasn't able to find where they presented any evidence to support this accusation. Was there any evidence or is the point of the court process to get some?
We live in an age where you can be fired for expressing an opinion or character that doesn't align with your employer on social media.
Imagine making a new twitter account in your own name, and doing nothing but insulting your company. What do you expect to happen? That's not far from the case here. Are we more sympathetic because the players are rich?
Bezos bought a company that, for better or worse, constantly antagonizes the current government administration. Why is he shocked that his alt account didn't get a contract from them?
I don’t know anything about Amazon’s proposal or if Trump has anything to do with the decision, but I imagine they may have believed all the hype and not priced it as competitively as they should. Or perhaps they misjudged the importance of certain requirements or Microsoft’s capabilities. Regardless, I imagine this was a wake up call at Amazon.
Oh yeah, that contract we lost - we protested it and ended up getting some work out of it after all.
Even if Amazon wins there will likely be a re-bid process. At which point they will simply select Microsoft again. As we've seen with the DOJ Trump can exert significant influence without having to actually tell them what to do.
See the KC-X tanker program as an example:
01/2007 - RFP comes out
02/2008 - Northrop Grumman wins
03/2008 - Boeing successfully protests
08/2008 - Revised RFP comes out, then cancelled
09/2009 - Third RFP comes out
02/2011 - Boeing wins
Someone at Oracle with access with Trump brought it to his attention, and Trump personally intervened, ordering DoD to ensure Amazon was not favored for the contract.
This contract would add about $250m in additional each quarter. Their last Q’s revenue was somewhere in the neighborhood of $33b.
Just stop with your nonsense.
AWS won't be able to revert that change in public perception that Azure has grown up.
That's also the reason I don't understand Amazon fighting the decision, because it just makes them look immature now. Better to move on and focus on providing customer value, keep innovating and build better tech.
And its very likely MS will win this and get another ego boost over AWS.
> That's also the reason I don't understand Amazon fighting the decision, because it just makes them look immature now.
In a big enough procurement, if you dig deep enough, there is always some impropriety that you can find, that may get you anything from a small payout to the contract being reversed. It's not a matter of maturity, or technical merits - it's a matter of politics and money.