Amazon's lawsuit: Trump's behind-the-scenes attacks cost us $10bn JEDI contract

DoD accused of artificially leveling AWS and Microsoft capabilities due to Trump's attacks on Amazon's Jeff Bezos.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Amazon has followed through with plans to sue the Department of Defense for choosing Microsoft for the up-to $10bn JEDI contract because of US president Donald Trump's attacks on Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos. 

Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Andy Jassy last week said the JEDI cloud computing contract award to Microsoft was subject to political interference from a president "who's willing to share openly his disdain for a company and the leader of that company", which makes it difficult for agencies including the Pentagon to make decisions "without fear of reprisal". 

AWS has now filed its lawsuit against the DoD over the award to Microsoft, arguing the agency made "egregious errors" when evaluating the cloud rivals.

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"These errors, however, were not merely the result of arbitrary and capricious decision-making," the lawsuit reads

"They were the result of improper pressure from President Donald J Trump, who launched repeated and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer the JEDI contract away from AWS to harm his perceived political enemy – Jeffry P Bezos, founder and CEO OF AWS's parent company, Amazon.com, and owner of the Washington Post."

The lawsuit also references reports that Trump told former secretary of defense James Mattis to "screw Amazon" out of the JEDI deal.  

"Basic justice requires re-evaluation of proposals and a new award decision. The stakes are high. 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," AWS lawyers argue. 

The Pentagon awarded JEDI to Microsoft in October for the provision of both IaaS and PaaS services in classified and unclassified environments. 

The lawsuit echoes Jassy's comments at the AWS re:Invent conference last week.

SEE: It's official: AWS is challenging Microsoft's $10 billion JEDI contract win

While detailing alleged errors in the DoD's assessment of AWS and Microsoft for the JEDI contract, AWS argues that those errors were the result of Trump's anger at Bezos due to reporting from the Washington Post. 

"As President Trump's tweets against Mr Bezos, Amazon, the Washington Post, and the JEDI bid process piled up, DoD took numerous actions to systematically remove the advantages of AWS's technological and experiential superiority and artificially level the playing field between AWS and its competitors, including Microsoft," AWS argues. 

ZDNet has contacted the DoD for its comments and will update this story if it receives a response. 

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