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Amazon's JEDI Protest Advances: Court Temporarily Halts Azure Contract

Amazon.com's request last month for an injunction against the Pentagon's $10 billion cloud computing contract with Microsoft, dubbed JEDI, has been granted.

Judge Patricia Elaine Campbell-Smith, of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, signed an order on Thursday announcing the preliminary injunction has been granted "until further order of the court," according to documents obtained by TechCrunch. The judge also ordered Amazon to post $42 million by Feb. 20 in case the injunction is found to have been "wrongfully" granted.

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract has been hotly contested by Amazon since the Department of Defense (DoD) awarded it to Microsoft last fall. Under the terms of the contract, the DoD would adopt Microsoft's Azure cloud platform for its Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) needs. It's valued at $10 billion over a 10-year period.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure -- the No. 1 and No. 2 cloud vendors by market share, respectively -- were among the chief contenders during the JEDI bidding process, as were (to a smaller degree) Google, IBM and Oracle. However, AWS had been widely considered the front-runner by virtue of its size. The DoD's awarding of the contract to Azure was met with surprise among industry watchers.

Amazon has been open about its intent to formally protest the Microsoft contract on the grounds that it believes AWS is the superior platform and that the decision may have been influenced by President Donald Trump, who has had a publicly acrimonious relationship with Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos.

Amazon officially filed a complaint last December, followed by a request in January for a restraining order. Recently unsealed documents indicate that Amazon is seeking to depose Trump -- along with DoD CIO Dana Deasy, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis -- as part of its suit.

In a statement to CNBC, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Frank Shaw said, "[W]e believe the facts will show they [the DoD] ran a detailed, thorough and fair process in determining the needs of the warfighter were best met by Microsoft."

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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