Finding good tech support can be expensive – even more so when you are running the systems that protect your nation. The Pentagon has awarded Microsoft with a $927 million contract to provide consulting and technical support services for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Earlier this year, in February, Microsoft also won a contract to upgrade about four million computers at the U.S. DoD to Windows 10 within 12 months; at the time, the deal was said to be the largest enterprise upgrade ever made.
The February contract put Windows 10 on every device used by the U.S. DoD – from phones to laptops to desktops, including Surface devices. A contract to now support these devices make sense; though, the price does seem quite extraordinary.
The $927 million contract asks a lot of Microsoft; the contract is a “non-competitive, fixed-firm price, single award, with indefinite delivery and identity quantity” for Microsoft’s Enterprise Technical Support Services. The contract demands highly-qualified Microsoft Blue Badge Cardholder support as well.
Here’s the fun part: the contract also requires access to Microsoft’s proprietary source code – something it has been quite reluctant about in China.
The contract’s period of performance is “one five-year base period,” and the total value – as mentioned – is $927,000,000.
Interestingly, UK’s MoD also entrusts Microsoft’s systems with their national security; however, the Azure systems do not store any classified information. It is likely that the UK government does not have the same level of access as the U.S. DoD.
The fact that Microsoft agrees to share its source code with the U.S. Department of Defense but not the Chinese government could backfire at the end; it sets a precedent that nobody would like.
If you wish to, you can read more about the contract in the official Department of Defence release; there’s a whole bunch of other companies who have won several other contracts as well.