- President Donald Trump apparently met with Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz on Tuesday.
- The meeting came as Trump keeps blasting Amazon.
- Oracle and Amazon are locked in a competition for a Pentagon cloud-computing contract worth billions.
President Donald Trump apparently dined with Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz on Tuesday night amid his repeated berating of Amazon, a company with which Oracle is in direct competition to land a Pentagon contract worth billions.
Bloomberg reported on Tuesday evening that Trump would dine with Catz and the billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel. The White House did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider about what was discussed at the meeting.
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 in his recent attacks on Amazon.
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.
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.
Meanwhile, some opponents of Amazon are clearly trying to plant a thought in the president’s mind.
The group Less Government last week placed an ad in the New York Post – known to be one of Trump’s favourite publications – highlighting the possible deal. Addressed directly to Trump, the ad warns: “Your Defence Department is set to award a no-bid, ten-year contract for all its IT infrastructure to Administration-enemy Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.”
Full page ad in the New York Post. Bezos has smart enemies. pic.twitter.com/eilLlnG3Bh
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) March 27, 2018
Catz, meanwhile, 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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