January 14, 2020

Amazon files lawsuit to block Microsoft from working on Pentagon’s $10 billion cloud contract

[ by Kavita Krishnan ]

Amazon Inc filed a lawsuit in a Court of Federal Claims in the United States (U.S.) contesting the U.S. Defense Department’s decision to award Pentagon’s $10 billion cloud computing contract for the military to rival bidder Microsoft Corp. According to the court filing, Amazon will ask the Court to temporarily block Microsoft from working on the cloud computing contract.

As per the court filing, Amazon Web Services “intends to file a motion for temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction to prevent the issuance of substantive task orders under the contract, which the United States has previously advised AWS and the Court will begin on February 11.”

Amazon sought a protective order from the court and said that the filings contained proprietary information, trade secrets, and confidential financial information that could cause either party severe competitive harm.

Amazon was considered a favorite for the contract, part of a broader digital modernization process of the Pentagon, before Microsoft emerged as the surprise winner.

However, the U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper rejected Amazon’s accusation of bias in the Pentagon’s decision to award Microsoft the contract after Amazon announced planned to challenge it.

The request is part of Amazon’s ongoing challenge to the Trump administration over the way the contract was awarded, which it argues was influenced by President Donald Trump’s dislike of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post, which Bezos owns.

Amazon was widely believed to be the front-runner to win the Pentagon's business, before Trump vowed to take “a strong look” at the deal. Amazon lost the contract to Microsoft’s Azure cloud business in October.

The contract known as Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI — involves providing cloud storage of sensitive military data and technology, such as artificial intelligence, to the Department of Defense, and could result in revenue of up to $10 billion over 10 years.

The Pentagon said it chose Microsoft because the company would help improve the speed and effectiveness with which it develops and deploys modernized technical capabilities.

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