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Lawyer backs AWS to partially succeed with JEDI court challenge

Written by Tue 10 Mar 2020

DoD might have improperly evaluated Microsoft’s winning proposal for the $10bn JEDI contract

A federal judge has weighed in on the ongoing legal battle surrounding the $10bn military cloud contract awarded to Microsoft last October.

In February, AWS launched a legal battle over the decision to award the JEDI contract to its cloud rival, in which it accused President Trump of “well-documented” bias against Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and improper interference in the review process.

Aside from criticising the President’s handling of the review process, the cloud giant lawsuit also alleged Microsoft’s storage services failed to meet Pentagon compliance requirements for “highly-accessible” storage. And Federal Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith reckons they have a point:

“The court concludes that plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of its argument that the DOD improperly evaluated intervenor defendants [Microsoft’s bid]”, the judge wrote.

According to Campbell-Smith, this error might have unduly harmed Amazon’s efforts to secure the contract, work on which was due to start 11 February but is now delayed until the court case is resolved.

In a statement, Microsoft’s vice president of communications, Frank X. Shaw, said the “technical finding” will not prevent the company from moving forward with the deal.

“The decision disagreed with a lone technical finding by the Department of Defense about data storage under the evaluation of one sub-element of one price scenario,” Shaw said.

“We have confidence in our technology, our bid, and the professional staff at the Department of Defense. We believe that we will ultimately be able to move forward with the work,” he added.

Interference

The Pentagon was preparing to make its final decision on the contract when Mr Trump publicly waded into the fray in July, saying he had heard complaints about the process and that the administration would “take a very long look”.

He said other companies told him that the contract “wasn’t competitively bid”.

Amazon is looking for more information about what happened before and after that review, including an alleged comment that surfaced in a book last year that said Mr Trump privately told then-defence Secretary Jim Mattis to “screw Amazon” out of the contract.

Written by Tue 10 Mar 2020

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Amazon AWS Azure Microsoft
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