- Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz reportedly discussed a Pentagon deal with President Donald Trump at a Tuesday dinner.
- Amazon and Oracle are competing for that contract, which will be worth billions.
- Trump has lobbed attacks at Amazon in recent days.
- But Trump reportedly did not indicate that he would interfere in the bidding process.
During a dinner with President Donald Trump, Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz criticised the bidding process for a Pentagon contract worth billions for which her company is competing with Amazon, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.
Catz joined billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel to dine with Trump on Tuesday night. Trump had invited Thiel, who brought Catz as his guest, Bloomberg reported.
Catz complained to Trump that the bidding process was designed so that Amazon could win the bid, people familiar with the conversation told Bloomberg. Trump heard her complaints and said he wants a fair competition for the contract. But Trump did not give any indication that he would put his thumb on the scale. Catz reportedly did not emphasise that Oracle is competing with Amazon for the contract.
The White House and Oracle did not return a requests for comment.
The meeting came amid Trump’s war of words with Amazon. On Tuesday, he tweeted that he was “right” about his criticism of the internet giant’s use of the US Postal Service, later telling reporters that Amazon was causing numerous store closures.
Trump has criticised Amazon for well more than a year, often tying the company to The Washington Post, owned by Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos.
Multiple news outlets have reported that Trump is trying to figure out what he could do to Amazon, such as changing its tax status or using antitrust laws against the company.
Another speculated-about option could be meddling in the Pentagon contract, which aims to provide the Department of Defence with cloud-computing services, though Trump has not mentioned it publicly. Meddling in such an affair could risk a lawsuit from the losing company.
The Pentagon intends to award the multiyear contract to one vendor – something that has caused concern among lawmakers and competitors, such as Oracle, who believe the process will favour Amazon, which dominates the cloud-services market. The final requests for proposals is set to be released next month with the contracted slated to be awarded by early fall.
Heather Babb, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told Business Insider that the competition for the contract would be “full and open” to land the high-profile and well-compensated government contract.
Amazon’s status as the perceived frontrunner for the contract has been largely cemented by its $US600 million deal with the CIA in 2013, showing that the company can manage and secure sensitive information, and providing it a leg up on obtaining top-level security credentials.
Draft requirements released by the Pentagon for the project – called the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure Cloud initiative, or JEDI – say that bidders must be able to obtain those security credentials within nine months of winning the contract. As of now, Amazon Web Services is the only potential vendor that meets that requirement.
Additionally, the Pentagon recently agreed to a deal worth up to $US65 million with a company that partners with Amazon Web Services to provide cloud services to the US Transportation Command.
Catz is one of Trump’s closest allies in Silicon Valley. She was part of his presidential transition team in 2016 and more recently was said to be a candidate to replace H.R. McMaster as the national security adviser.
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