Amazon to ask US court to block Microsoft from working on JEDI contract
Amazon claims the $10bn JEDI contract was unfairly awarded to Microsoft
Amazon is to file suit demanding that Microsoft be temporarily blocked from working on the US Department of Defense’s JEDI project.
According to Reuters, Amazon plans to file a motion for a temporary restraining order on 24th January, and the court will issue its decision on 11th February.
Microsoft is scheduled to begin work on the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure Cloud (JEDI) contract on 11th February.
The company won the lucrative contract in October, despite Amazon’s cloud division being tipped as the frontrunner to win the contract.
After Microsoft won the contract, Amazon alleged that it was unfairly held back by the US Department of Defense from winning the contract due to political pressure from President Trump, who has longstanding enmity towards Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
The Department of Defense has stood by its decision to award the contract, saying the entire process was conducted fairly, without any external influence.
In November, Amazon filed a legal complaint with the US Court of Federal Claims, challenging the decision. In the court filing, the company claimed that it had been the victim of “clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias.”
Amazon also told the Court that it planned to use two video clips of the comments of President Trump about the contract to make a case of interference.
In one video, a Fox News host was seen urging President Trump to keep the Pentagon from awarding the deal to Amazon.
In another clip, Trump told reporters that he had received several complaints from technology companies about the JEDI contract being awarded to Amazon.
The JEDI cloud project was started by the DoD as part of a broader digital transformation process in the Pentagon. Through the JEDI project, the Pentagon aims to build single cloud architecture across all the military branches to help create a seamless information-sharing environment.
Amazon was long seen as the favourite for the contract until it was awarded to Microsoft in October 2019.
Earlier in 2018, Google quit the process, citing its new ethical guidelines on artificial intelligence. Later in April 2019, IBM and Oracle were removed from the bidding process by the Pentagon, leaving Amazon and Microsoft as the final contenders.
Oracle challenged the decision in the court, claiming that the $10 billion Pentagon mega-cloud contract was biased towards Amazon.
In July, US federal judge Eric Bruggink dismissed Oracle’s challenge, ruling that there was no evidence to prove any sort of bias in the procurement process for JEDI contract. Judge Bruggink also added that Oracle had failed to prove a conflict of interest in the procurement process.