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Amazon Strikes Back: Judge Blocks Microsoft’s JEDI Contract

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A federal judge issued a temporary injunction against Microsoft that will prevent the company from beginning work on the recently won $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract to modernize Pentagon’s IT infrastructure. The judge’s injunction came after Amazon filed a motion against Microsoft last month.

JEDI Fight is Not Over Yet

The JEDI contract was supposed to go to a single company back in August, 2019. However, weeks before that deadline, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper started investigating the contract bidding process for potential conflicts of interest. Eventually, the awarding of the contract was delayed until October 25, when the DoD awarded it to Microsoft

Before Secretary Esper started his investigation, many believed that Amazon would be the one to win the contract. When it lost, Amazon wasn’t too happy with the decision, so it launched a lawsuit against the DoD on November 22.

Last month, Amazon asked the court to block Microsoft from starting work on the JEDI contract, which was supposed to happen on February 14, this year. Amazon also asked the court to depose President Trump, Secretary Esper, and former Secretary Mattis, because it believes that it lost the contract due to President Trump’s influence on the awarding process. 

The President said in July last year that it would look into the contract after IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle complained about the bidding process. Amazon believes that President Trump shows bias against the company because the Washington Post, a paper owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has criticized the President’s administration. 

Microsoft issued a statement to the CNBC about the recent development:

“While we are disappointed with the additional delay we believe that we will ultimately be able to move forward with the work to make sure those who serve our country can access the new technology they urgently require. 

We have confidence in the Department of Defense, and we believe the facts will show they ran a detailed, thorough and fair process in determining the needs of the warfighter were best met by Microsoft.” 

Since it was awarded the JEDI contract, Microsoft has launched an aggressive staffing operation by recruiting employees from other defense contractors over the past few months.

Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.