Microsoft's Work For Pentagon Suspended As Judge Approves Amazon Appeal

Daniel Fowler
February 15, 2020

Microsoft echoed the disappointment in a statement Thursday, but said it believes that it will ultimately be allowed to move forward with the project.

Microsoft said in a statement: "We have confidence in the Department of Defense, and we believe the facts will show they ran a detailed, thorough and fair process". Case and point: Amazon claimed that Pentagon officials did not review the company's most up-to-date submissions for the JEDI project before issuing the award to Microsoft.

The government can't proceed with implementing the contract "until further order of the court", according to the decision by Court of Federal Claims Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith.

A federal judge on Thursday issued an order temporarily blocking the United States military from awarding a multibillion-dollar cloud computing contract to Microsoft, after Amazon claimed the process was tainted by politics.

She also ordered Amazon to set aside $42m for costs if future proceedings found she was wrong to have issued the injunction.

Once again, Amazon is leveraging legal recourse to circumvent the Department of Defense's decision to award Microsoft the lucrative Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract.

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Amazon was considered an early front-runner for the contract, which Pentagon officials have said is important to advancing the USA military's technological advantage over adversaries. Amazon Web Services, Amazon's cloud computing division, filed a lawsuit in November alleging the Defense Department failed to fairly judge its bid for the contract because Trump viewed Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos as his "political enemy". The executive said yesterday, "All we're trying to do through this protest and this request for a legal review is to ensure that a proper decision was made on behalf of USA taxpayers".

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.

This comes on the heels of Amazon first requesting the injunction in January.

Amazon asked the court to halt work on the project last month.

Mr Trump said last summer that he was looking at the deal after companies that missed out on the shortlist for the contract, including Oracle and IBM, complained about the process.

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