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U.S. judge denies Microsoft's requests to dismiss Amazon's claims of Trump interference in JEDI contract

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Microsoft logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Amazon alleges that the Trump administration interfered with the Pentagon's awarding of the JEDI contract.
  • Microsoft and the U.S. Justice Department requested said allegations be dismissed.
  • A U.S. judge just denied those requests.

Update April 29, 2021 at 2:32 pm ET: Microsoft has provided a statement that has been included below.

A U.S. judge has denied requests by Microsoft and the U.S. Justice Department to dismiss Amazon allegations regarding the awarding of the Pentagon's $10 billion JEDI contract (via Reuters). Amazon claims that the Trump administration meddled in the assignment of the cloud-computing contract given to Microsoft.

Since then, both Microsoft and the U.S. Justice Department have asked for said allegations to be dismissed. Now, however, those dismissal requests have been rejected, paving the way for the continuation of an already lengthy legal battle.

Today, the US Court of Federal Claims issued a sealed decision denying the motions filed by the DoJ and Microsoft requesting the Court dismiss AWS's allegations that the Trump Administration interfered in the JEDI award. Below, please find a statement attributable to an AWS spokesperson.

An Amazon Web Services spokesperson gave the following statement in response to the judge's decision:

The record of improper influence by former President Trump is disturbing, and we are pleased the Court will review the remarkable impact it had on the JEDI contract award. AWS continues to be the superior technical choice, the less expensive choice, and would provide the best value to the DoD and the American taxpayer. We continue to look forward to the Court's review of the many material flaws in the DoD's evaluation, and we remain absolutely committed to ensuring that the Department has access to the best technology at the best price.

Microsoft Communications CVP Frank X. Shaw gave the following statement after the news broke:

This procedural ruling changes little. Not once, but twice, professional procurement staff at the DoD chose Microsoft after a thorough review. Many other large and sophisticated customers make the same choice every week. We've continued for more than a year to do the internal work necessary to move forward on JEDI quickly, and we continue to work with DoD, as we have for more than 40 years, on mission critical initiatives like supporting its rapid shift to remote work and the Army's IVAS.

JEDI isn't the only contract Microsoft has with the U.S. government and its military branches, but even so, it's a $10 billion deal. We will provide updates as the story develops.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

9 Comments
  • Amazon is likely salty for not getting the contract. Face the facts Bevos you didnt get the contract and move on. You don't need more control over the internet.
  • As someone that works close to this situation, it had to do with capabilities and not to do with President Trump. Microsoft just had a better sale pitch and is already tied in with Sharepoint, enterprise services, servers, etc...
  • Trump's former defense secretary disagrees. Trump was all about micromanaging when it came to things that affected his ego (example #1,262,233: he resisted the promotions of female generals; example #1,264,072: he called the GA secretary of state to ask him to fabricate votes so he can claim he won) so this fits the pattern (in this case, Bezos hurt his feelings). Whatever the merits of the business case, a democracy should have low tolerance for this kind of corruption. What's amazing is how much people tolerated.
  • Did you sit in on a meeting, discussing whether or not to go microsoft or amazon.....No? Oh, I thought you had. Must be that TDS you appear to be suffering from. I work in tech, within the military. I heard this discussions about the future of our network. I know what our net techs pushed for.
  • Who gives a crap? Amazon already has their hands in everything.
  • Salty Amazon? Dang, take your L and move on. Get better!
  • This is just Amazon trying to hinder MSFT from using Azure in the Pentagon. They know if MSFT does move this contract along, then many contractors will start using azure to provide more government services. In some ways, the cloud infrastructure is similar to the OS ecosystem. Does Amazon really want the US federal government move more and more services onto Azure? Of course not. So they are using the Federal Contracting rules to protest and stop the contract from moving forward. Also note that the Pentagon still pays MSFT millions annually to keep Windows 7 secure. Boeing did the same thing with the new aerial refueling program. First, they offered the Pentagon procurement officer a job at Boeing and guess what, the award was given to Boeing (over Airbus). This was discovered and the contract was reissued for competition and Airbus won. Then the lobbing started and what do you know. This contract award was overturned and a new competition was set up and guess what, Boeing won. How many of these planes have been delivered and are now operational? Remember this was a contract issued in the early 1990s. I think the number is quite low because Boeing could not meet the contract requirements and the Airforce refused to certify the plane until the last few years. And even now, they have to rework the interface for the refueling system to make sure it meets operational requirements. That is going to take a few more years. So after three run arounds in contract protests and close to a 20-year delay in fielding the capability, the Airforce still has a few more years of work to make the system meet operational requirements. All because Boeing, the long-established aerial refueling contractor did not want Airbus to enjoy a 50-year ride providing profitable service contracts to the Pentagon. So Amazon is just using the tools of the federal regulations to try its best to stop MSFT-a a competitor they don't want around in the cloud business. We all know that once the Pentagon moves its global information system onto the Azure Cloud, MSFT will get billions of profitable service contracts for decades. Amazon does not want this to happen. So they come up with a flashy headline to try and sully the contract award.
  • Fair point but Amazon has it's greedy hands over so much in the internet space. I think this is better fit them to lose the contract fair and square.
  • Costly move for US taxpayers. Plus it opens up for massive abuse in similar future situations... At least the case should be given top priority, and a maximum time span of months rather than years. It's important to keep a check on government spending, but not at the cost of a reasonably flexible system!