Amazon files suit challenging Pentagon ‘war cloud’ contract with Microsoft, may argue Trump ‘meddled’ in process

23 Nov, 2019 02:49 / Updated 4 years ago

Amazon has filed a lawsuit protesting the Pentagon’s decision to award a contract worth up to $10 billion to Microsoft to supply the military with a new cloud storage system, insisting the bidding process was marred by bias.

The high-dollar ‘war cloud’ project, also known as JEDI, was awarded to Microsoft late last month, but on Friday Amazon confirmed it would bring a case to the US Court of Federal Claims to challenge the move.

JEDI’s stop-start bidding process was long plagued by complaints of bias, with cloud computing firm Oracle previously alleging the bid was skewed in favor of Amazon, while the Pentagon later carried out a “review” of the procedure after President Donald Trump voiced similar concerns.

Now, Amazon is turning the tables to make much the same case, citing “unmistakable bias” in the “JEDI evaluation process” in a statement to CNBC before filing its complaint.

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The complaint is not accessible to the public, as Amazon says it contains “sensitive” and “proprietary information,” and the company has so far offered few additional details about the case.

According to a report in Bloomberg, Amazon is expected to argue that President Trump unfairly “meddled” to slant the bidding process against the company, possibly citing the ongoing feud between the president and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Trump has slammed the Amazon chief for the company’s business practices, and hit out at Bezos over his ownership of the Washington Post, which regularly prints negative coverage of the Trump administration.

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For some time, many observers considered Amazon on track to win the JEDI bid, especially after competitors Google, IBM and Oracle dropped out of the contest, but the final decision appeared to catch the company off guard. It announced plans to challenge the outcome soon after.

While the case has been assigned to Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith, Amazon requested it be passed to the same judge who presided over Oracle’s previous bias complaint, which was ultimately decided in Amazon's favor, arguing it would “conserve judicial resources.”

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