The judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith of the U.S. Court Federal Claims ordered on Thursday that the JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) cloud contract between Microsoft and Pentagon becomes temporarily blocked.
The court granted a motion filed by Amazon’s cloud-computing arm, Amazon Web Services. AWS asked for Microsoft’s work on the JEDI contract to be paused. It claimed the evaluation process included “clear deficiencies, errors and unmistakable bias.”
Amazon to Provide $42 Million Bond for Costs
Even though the judge decided on Amazon’s wellbeing – this will not be easy for the company. If it proves that the motion was filed unjustifiably, Amazon would have to put up a $42 million bond to cover costs. However, Amazon has the value of today is $1.08 trillion, so it probably won’t be such a big deal. Still, they must provide it by February 20th, and the court gets to hold the funds until a final determination.
AWS previously said:
“Question is whether the President of the United States should be allowed to use the budget of the DoD [Department of Defense] to pursue his own personal and political ends.”
Also, the lawsuit claims the Defense Department’s choice was full of “egregious errors,” which were a result of “improper pressure from President Donald Trump, who launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks” to remove the contract far away as possible from Amazon in order “to harm his perceived political enemy” Bezos.
Alexander Major, a partner at McCarter & English, commented:
“The court has confirmed through the injunction that Amazon’s challenges with respect to this procurement are not trivial. It’s not guaranteed that they will prevail but the fact that they got it at all is a big deal.”
It is already known that Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post, whose coverage has been critical of Trump and which has frequently been a target of barbs by Trump about the news media.
Microsoft Disappointed But Believes in Fair Process
Almost immediately, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft Communications Frank Shaw issued a statement, saying that the company is “disappointed” by the Court of Federal Claims’ decision to temporarily block the JEDI cloud contract.
Shaw stated that the company believes that it “will ultimately be able to move forward with the work to make sure” that members of DoD “can access the new technology they urgently require.” Microsoft representative expressed confidence in the Pentagon and belief that the legal process will show that the company won the contract fairly.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Carver, a Defense Department spokesman, said:
“The Pentagon believed the actions taken in this litigation have unnecessarily delayed implementing DoD’s modernization strategy and deprived our warfighters of a set of capabilities they urgently need. We remain confident in our award of the JEDI Cloud contract to Microsoft.”
In November, Amazon Web Services first filed a lawsuit against Microsoft over the contract before filing a motion to pause the deal in January, accusing the U.S. President Donald Trump of abusing power and influencing the Pentagon’s decision amid his alleged animosity against Amazon.com Inc.