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Amazon: Trump Bias Over 'Enemy' Bezos Thwarted $10B Cloud Deal

Amazon: Trump Bias Over 'Enemy' Bezos Thwarted $10B Cloud Deal
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By    |   Monday, 09 December 2019 11:06 AM

Amazon.com Inc claims the Pentagon failed to fairly judge its bid for a cloud contract worth up to $10 billion because President Donald Trump viewed company founder Jeffrey Bezos as his “political enemy.”

Amazon Web Services claimed in a lawsuit that was made public on Monday that the Defense Department ignored Amazon’s superior technology and awarded the contract to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) despite its “key failures” to comply with requirements for the so-called Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, contract, Bloomberg reported

The Pentagon made those errors because of improper interference by Trump, who Amazon said “launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer the JEDI Contract away from AWS to harm his perceived political enemy -- Jeffrey P. Bezos,” who the president has long criticized for his ownership of The Washington Post, according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington.

Amazon (AMZN) filed a lawsuit under seal with the court last month to formally protest its loss of the cloud contract. The Pentagon’s JEDI cloud project is designed to consolidate the department’s cloud computing infrastructure and modernize its technology systems. The contract is worth as much as $10 billion over 10 years and could offer the winner a bigger foothold in the burgeoning federal cloud market.

“The question is whether the President of the United States should be allowed to use the budget of DoD to pursue his own personal and political ends,” asked a heavily redacted, 103-page document made public on Monday and cited by CNBC.

“DoD’s substantial and pervasive errors are hard to understand and impossible to assess separate and apart from the President’s repeatedly expressed determination to, in the words of the President himself, ‘screw Amazon.’ Basic justice requires re-evaluation of proposals and a new award decision,” CNBC cited the filing as saying.

The filing ironically surfaced hour after Bezos said it would support the U.S. Department of Defense as technology companies vie for more defense contracts and the Pentagon seeks to modernize itself, Reuters reported.

"We are going to support the Department of Defense, this country is important," Bezos said Sunday at an annual defense forum at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.

Tech companies have faced challenges when trying to work with the Pentagon. Last year a defense program, named Project Maven, set off a revolt inside Google, as some employees opposed Google technology being used in warfare. Those employees said it clashed with Google's stated goal of doing no harm and cited risks around using a nascent artificial intelligence technology in lethal situations.

While Bezos said he supported employees having passionately held views, he said it was up to the senior leaders of companies to provide guidance on what projects they would and would not do.

"My view is that if big tech is turning their back on the Department of Defense, this country is in big trouble," Bezos said.

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Amazon.com claims the Pentagon failed to fairly judge its bid for a cloud contract worth up to $10 billion because President Donald Trump viewed company founder Jeffrey Bezos as his “political enemy.”
amazon, trump, cloud, microsoft
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2019-06-09
Monday, 09 December 2019 11:06 AM
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