Friday, 14 February 2020 10:43

Courts grants Amazon plea, temporarily halts Microsoft-DoD deal Featured

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Courts grants Amazon plea, temporarily halts Microsoft-DoD deal Pixabay

A court in the US has agreed to a request from Amazon to stop Microsoft and the Department of Defence from continuing to work on implementing a US$10 billion cloud deal that was awarded to the Redmond software giant in October last year, Reuters reported.

Amazon, which was heavily favoured to get the contract, claims that US President Donald Trump has influenced the awarding of the same.

Trump has complained on more than one occasion about Amazon owner, Jeff Bezos being behind criticism of his administration in the Washington Post, a newspaper that Bezos owns.

Just a month after the contract was awarded, Amazon filed a lawsuit. claiming that the decision was chock full of “egregious errors".

These were blamed on “improper pressure from President Donald Trump, who launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks” to prevent Amazon winning the contract “to harm his perceived political enemy” Bezos.

The DoD said it was confident it had made the right decision in giving the deal to Microsoft, while Microsoft issued a statement saying: "We have confidence in the Department of Defence, and we believe the facts will show they ran a detailed, thorough and fair process.”

The DoD Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure contract, known by its acronym JEDI, seeks to unite all Defence services under one cloud vendor, as the CIA did in 2013 with Amazon at a cost of US$600 million.

The first draft calling for requests for proposals was put out in March 2018, with a formal proposal following after four months.

Apart from Microsoft and Amazon, Oracle and IBM were also in the running but the contest then narrowed down to two companies. Oracle went to court to protest what it saw as Amazon's being favoured for the deal, but got no joy.

Google, which also put its hand up for the bid, withdrew from the contest after many of its employees protested about its involvement. The search giant said it was pulling out because the JEDI deal was not one which would sit well with the company.

Amazon has sought to depose Trump and Defence Secretary Mark Esper about the decision.

Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith issued a preliminary injunction following Amazon's request and asked the Pentagon and Amazon to discuss what portions of her detailed opinion could be released publicly.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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