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 BezosWarren hits Bloomberg, Steyer: They have 'been allowed to buy their way' into 2020 race Saagar Enjeti: 'Consequences for corporate media are finally starting' Saagar Enjeti: Bloomberg exposes 'true danger' of 'corporate media' MORE, who also owns The Washington Post, has been critical of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrumps light 97th annual National Christmas Tree Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan 'Don't mess with Mama': Pelosi's daughter tweets support following press conference comments MORE

Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Trump leaves door open to possible troop increase in Middle East | Putin offers immediate extension of key nuclear treaty Trump leaves door open to possible troop increase in Middle East Pentagon official: 'Possible' more US troops could be deployed to Middle East 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.