Remember when IBM was the only game in town? Over the years, their supremacy has eroded. Watson might be able to answer Jeopardy questions, but it can?t outsmart the US Federal Court system.

The CIA had awarded Amazon Web Services (AWS) a contract worth $600 million. All they had to do was build a private cloud service inside the CIA?s data centers. That business deal didn?t sit well with IBM who was accustomed to winning most government contracts. Buoyed by the Government Accountability Office?s (GAO) agreement that the CIA hadn?t done its homework on pricing, IBM filed suit saying Amazon had not met the bidding criteria. The US Court of Federal Claims didn?t see it that way. CIA director John Brennan has a lot on his plate and let the lawyers duke it out on this issue.

The Court primarily judges claims related to money and makes decisions based upon the Constitution, federal statutes, executive regulations, and contracts with the United States. Cases similar to IBM vs Amazon are contract claims which account for more than a third of the court’s workload. Judge Thomas Wheeler, sitting on the bench of the Claims Court since 2005 listened to the oral arguments.

IBM is synonymous with computers. Amazon is synonymous with retail sales. So how does an ecommerce business win a computing contract out from under IBM. Well, by taking their own experiences in managing the ins and outs of on-line retailing and offering that experience to others via Amazon Web Services. AWS is credited with Cloud computing which is changing the technology landscape, just as real clouds throw shadows on the Earth. Old standby IBM, accustomed to being in the spotlight, might find itself overshadowed by a younger generation of rivals wielding new approaches to computing.

AWS offers a variety of products including Amazon Relational Database Service, a web service where companies can set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. Many government agencies apparently have the propensity to collect and store megabytes of data. The next step is what to do with all that data. Amazon Elastic MapReduce is a web service that enables businesses, researchers, data analysts, and developers to process vast amounts of data. Another aspect of the AWS Cloud would be of interest to any agency, and that is security, especially since the Snowden affair.

AWS CloudHSM is a service that helps clients meet stiff data security requirements by using dedicated a Hardware Security Module (HSM). The HSM appliances within the AWS cloud. provide secure key storage and a set of cryptographic operations within a tamper-resistant enclosure.

Considering all of AWS? offerings, we would not be surprised to see more contracts between the US government and Amazon.