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Amazon files lawsuit against Pentagon's decision to award $10B contract to Microsoft

Amazon files lawsuit against Pentagon's decision to award $10B contract to Microsoft
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Amazon filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday to dispute the Pentagon’s decision to award a lucrative cloud computing contract to rival Microsoft.

For weeks, Amazon has been expected to take action against the Pentagon's decision to award Microsoft with its $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, a move that was announced in late October.

A spokesperson for Amazon Web Services confirmed to The Hill that the suit was filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims under seal. The tech giant did not explain the basis for its complaint.

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The suit contains “proprietary information, trade secrets, and confidential financial information” that could “cause either party severe competitive harm,” Amazon said in a court document seeking a protective order. 

“The record in this bid protest likely will contain similarly sensitive information,” it added.

Amazon had been widely viewed as the favorite to win the JEDI contract, which is just one part of a broader Defense Department project to modernize its digital capacities.

The company protested the Pentagon's decision to go with Microsoft, a rival company that has a slightly lower data certification.

"AWS is uniquely experienced and qualified to provide the critical technology the U.S. military needs, and remains committed to supporting the DoD’s modernization efforts. We believe it's critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence. Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias- and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified," an Amazon Web Services spokesperson told The Hill.

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Amazon has claimed it lost the contract because its owner, Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosElon Musk passes Bill Gates to become world's second-richest person in Bloomberg rankings How space exploration will help to address climate change Bezos makes first donations from billion Earth Fund MORE, who also owns The Washington Post, has been critical of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE

Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperISIS Task Force director resigns from Pentagon post in continued post-election purge The perils of a US troop drawdown to the Afghan army and tribes Acting Defense secretary makes surprise trip to Somalia MORE has denied that politics played a role in the Pentagon’s decision. 

“We believe the facts will show they [the Defense Department] ran a detailed, thorough and fair process in determining the needs of the warfighter were best met by Microsoft,” Microsoft said in a statement to Reuters, which was the first to report on the lawsuit. 

Some top federal contracting experts told The Hill last month that they believed a challenge from Amazon’s cloud computing arm would be unprecedented.

“We’ve had other contracts that have had major issues which were fought out in the public but none of which I’m aware where the president is alleged to have somehow tried to influence the procurement process,” Dave Drabkin, a former top procurement executive at the General Services Administration, told The Hill.