Amazon Strikes Back: Judge Blocks Microsoft’s JEDI Contract

U.S. judge orders temporary halt to Microsoft’s work on Pentagon’s JEDI contract

A judge has hit pause on a major U.S. government contract in a win for Amazon, which had challenged the award.

But government lawyers argued in a filing made public on Wednesday that Amazon's request to depose Trump was "particularly audacious" and unnecessary because the company had failed to offer enough evidence to support its claims of bias.

Amazon and Microsoft are industry leaders among cloud services providers.

The project, known as Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, will store and process vast amounts of classified data. It's meant to improve the Pentagon's communications with soldiers on the battlefield and would use artificial intelligence to speed up its war planning and fighting capabilities.

Amazon was considered an early front-runner for the contract, which Pentagon officials have said is important to advancing the US military's technological advantage over adversaries.

Both Microsoft and Pentagon officials maintained that the contract was awarded fairly and that the ruling will cause an unnecessary delay in modernizing the military equipment.

Microsoft expressed its disappointment over the decision, saying it will further delay the work on the project.


Amazon didn't respond to a request for comment. In one case, Amazon cites claims in a book by Mattis' former speechwriter, Guy Snodgrass, that Trump told Mattis in the summer of 2018 to "screw Amazon" by locking it out of the bid.

Last year, Mr Trump told reporters that the USA was looking closely at the contract, noting that he had been getting "tremendous complaints" from several companies about it.

The e-commerce giant's lawsuit chronicles a laundry list of comments and actions by Trump and the Defense Department that it claims show the Pentagon bowed to political pressure when awarding the deal to Microsoft.

Telecoms operator AT&T made similar claims after the USA took action to block its takeover of Time-Warner, which owns CNN.

Lt. Col. Robert Carver, a Pentagon spokesman, said that the Department of Defense (DoD) was confident about its decision to award the contract to Microsoft.

As a condition of the injunction, Amazon was directed to provide $42 million to the court that would be used to cover any costs or damages incurred if it is determined that the injunction was issued wrongly.

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