Nov 01, 2019

Microsoft wins giant JEDI contract, but even enterprise deals will be developer-first

Nadella holding a lightsaber

In a stunning end to a turbulent story, Microsoft won the Pentagon’s $10B JEDI contract. For developers, Microsoft’s triumph reveals a new enterprise angle to its developer-first strategy.

Short for Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, JEDI marks the beginning a massive undertaking by the US government to digitize its operations, including its most secretive and critical functions. Microsoft is tasked with building out a cloud-computing system for the US military so that the Pentagon can use Microsoft’s entire tech stack, from cloud storage to Azure’s machine learning algorithms.

The JEDI contract is worth up to $10B over 10 years and is a massive win for Microsoft’s cloud platform.

Is it a win for developers?

Moreover, how do developers reconcile Microsoft’s enterprise-focused DNA with its newfangled love for developers?

From Nadella, “the rise of digital IP creation in every organization means developers will increasingly drive and influence every business process and function...”

Microsoft, with decades of close relationships with big enterprises, could be better prepared for the next phase of the cloud wars than Amazon and Google. Still, Microsoft will not be able to do it without developers.

At large companies, business leaders increasingly turn to developers to make important technology decisions. Building developer trust through tools like Visual Studio Code and GitHub establishes a strong reputation that bubbles upwards to senior decision makers.

Developer support will be a key ingredient in JEDI-sized deals.

As competition between cloud services heats up and big tech battles to convert the remaining enterprise cloud holdouts, winning over developers is a much needed—and critical—boost.

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