Wednesday, 25 November, 2020

Judge halts Pentagon's $10B deal with Microsoft in victory for Amazon

Judge halts Microsoft work on Cloud contract after Amazon suit U.S. judge orders temporary halt to Microsoft’s work on Pentagon’s JEDI contract
Ginger Lawrence | 14 February, 2020, 11:53

A federal court has ordered the Pentagon to temporarily halt work with Microsoft on a $10 billion military cloud contract that Amazon was initially favored to win.

Amazon was considered the lead contender to provide technology for JEDI, with AWS dominating the cloud computing arena and the company already providing classified servers for other government agencies including the CIA.

Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith granted Amazon a restraining order that effectively pauses the ten-year $10bn winner-takes-all deal so that the web giant can challenge the United States military's decision to hand the agreement to the Windows goliath.

Amazon requested the court injunction last month.

Trump frequently criticizes Amazon and Jeff Bezos, its founder; Bezos owns the Washington Post, which Trump says covers him unfairly.

The Pentagon, which had planned to start work on the contract on Friday, said it was disappointed in the ruling.

"We believe the facts will show they ran a detailed, thorough and fair process in determining the needs of the warfighter were best met by Microsoft", he said. In October 2019, Microsoft was announced as the victor of the contract. Esper has denied there was bias and said the Pentagon made its choice fairly and freely without external influence.

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Dual Becher Chase victor Walk In The Mill, trained by Yorkshire-born Robert Walford, was fourth previous year and is on 10st 4lb. Fourth-placed Walk In The Mill (Robert Walford, 10st 4lb) fared best of the British-trained runners in 2019.

Shares of Amazon were down 0.4 percent Thursday afternoon at $2,151.38, while Microsoft was down 0.5 percent at $183.87.

Microsoft told The Register it remains confident the JEDI - aka the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure - cloud contract will go forward with Redmond at the helm.

Among other things it is meant to improve the military's remote access to data and technology, and help it host classified military secrets.

As part of the lawsuit, Amazon wants to question Trump about his communications with its competitors and with Pentagon officials to establish his "well-documented personal animus towards Mr. Bezos, Amazon, and the Washington Post", according to a court filing.

Thursday's ruling is a win for Amazon... although it does not indicate whether the company will ultimately get the court to reverse the Pentagon's decision.

Earlier this week, Amazon's cloud computing unit, Amazon Web Services, said it was seeking to depose Trump and Esper in its lawsuit over whether the president was trying "to screw Amazon" over the contract.