Amazon wins CIA cloud deal in court battle with IBM

But IBM plans to appeal the Court of Federal Claims' decision

Amazon Web Services has been handed a win in a court battle with IBM over a CIA contract for a cloud computing project worth up to US$600 million.

A judge at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims sided with Amazon in a case that began when IBM went to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) with complaints about how bids were evaluated when the CIA selected AWS.

The GAO partly sided with IBM and recommended that CIA reopen the competition. That didn't sit well with AWS, which filed a complaint the Federal Claims court that it won on Monday.

"We are disappointed with the ruling from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, reversing the GAO's recommendation to reopen the competition and correct flaws in the bidding process. IBM plans to appeal this decision. This court decision seems especially inappropriate in light of the current times, since IBM's bid was superior in many ways, including being substantially more cost-effective," a spokesman said via email.

AWS didn't immediately reply to a request for a comment, but in July the company said it strongly believed the CIA got it right the first time.

AWS has this year stepped up its push to get government organizations and agencies in the U.S to use more hosted applications. In May, it finally received certification under the FedRamp (Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program), which the company said will lower the cost of implementing its cloud services.

FedRAMP is a mandatory government-wide program that standardizes security assessment, authorization, and monitoring for cloud products and services.

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