Full textual content: Microsoft’s multi-cloud imaginative and prescient would maintain Amazon from operating away with federal offers

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Amazon Web Services is the unstated subject of a draft multi-cloud vision statement circulated by Microsoft, calling on the federal agencies to avoid over-reliance on a single cloud vendor. (GeekWire File Photo)

A draft document circulated by Microsoft calls for the use of multiple cloud vendors as “the de facto standard for US Government Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) cloud procurements.”

First reported by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, the company’s “Multi-cloud Vision Statement and Principles” make the case that such a policy would improve competition, reduce costs, and foster innovation.

Such a policy, if it were adopted by the government, would also have the effect of further opening the lucrative public sector market to cloud technology from Microsoft and others, slowing the momentum of Amazon Web Services.

[GeekWire obtained a draft of the document independently. Read the full text below.]

“We are concerned that in the absence of clear policy, with inadequate support and guidance, and left to their own, the departments and agencies of the US Government have effectively, though unintentionally, failed to comply with statutory and regulatory preferences for multiple award procurements as well as industry best practices,” the draft of Microsoft’s document reads.

The document asserts that single-cloud procurements “should be the rare exception and only pursued pursuant to justifiable and pre-qualified need.”

Microsoft is asking other AWS rivals to join in its push for the multi-cloud policy. Oracle is on board. Longtime Microsoft rival Google promises to be a tougher sell.

One stumbling block: as drafted by Microsoft, the principles apply to cloud infrastructure and platforms but not applications or productivity software.

A study funded in part by Google found that Microsoft holds 85% of the market for productivity software in the U.S. public sector, warning against “overreliance on a single vendor,” in much the same way as Microsoft is warning against Amazon’s dominance in cloud infrastructure and platforms.

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Google declined to comment when asked about the Microsoft draft.

AWS is the overall market-share leader in infrastructure and platforms, followed by Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

In one-high profile government cloud deal, Microsoft was initially the sole winner of the Pentagon’s $10 billion JEDI cloud contract in 2019. Amazon protested, and the work was later split up as a multi-vendor deal .

Microsoft has not released its multi-cloud principles publicly. The company is known in the industry for issuing principles that state or update its positions on key tech and public policy issues, often seeking to simultaneously emphasize its own competitive advantages or further open markets where it’s attempting to catch up.

A Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement, “Microsoft has consistently advocated a multi-cloud approach as a commercial best practice, and almost all companies have adopted this. We similarly work with other companies and trade associations to encourage the federal government to adopt the same strategy.”

An Amazon spokesperson described Microsoft’s document as a “self-serving” campaign that would “force customers to use inferior technology” if it were adopted as a mandate by the federal government.

“Public sector customers should have the freedom and flexibility to determine how to obtain secure, reliable, and cost-effective cloud services and software – from the vendor or vendors of their choice – without mandates or unfair software licensing restrictions,” the Amazon spokesperson said.

Here’s a copy of the draft, obtained by GeekWire.

Microsoft Multi-cloud Vision Statement and Principles by GeekWire on Scribd

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