Federal Judge rejects Microsoft, DoD motions to dismiss Amazon's JEDI challenge

A new ruling this week over the $10 billion, 10-year JEDI cloud contract allows Amazon to continue to protest the awarding of the deal to Microsoft.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: ZDNet

There's been another volley in the seemingly never-ending back and forth over the 10-year, $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Initiative contract. A federal judge rejected motions by the Department of Defense and Microsoft to dismiss part of Amazon's challenge over the award, which was won by Microsoft.

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge's decision means the already protracted battle over JEDI could become even more protracted. Or maybe not, given some DoD officials have said the agency might end up giving up on fighting over JEDI and instead look at other ways to get the same services.

This week, Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith decided not to dismiss Amazon's claim that former President Trump interfered with the award of the contract. Amazon was believed by many to be the likely victor in the winner-take-all bidding process. Microsoft was awarded the JEDI contract in October 2019. Shortly thereafter, Amazon Web Services (AWS) filed a suit claiming then-President Donald Trump's interference played a big part in Microsoft's win.

In September 2020, the DoD said it was standing by its choice of Microsoft as the JEDI winner.  

Predictably, Amazon officials were happy about this week's JEDI twist. A statement from a company spokesperson:

"The record of improper influence by former President Trump is disturbing, and we are pleased the Court will review the remarkable impact it had on the JEDI contract award. AWS continues to be the superior technical choice, the less expensive choice, and would provide the best value to the DoD and the American taxpayer. We continue to look forward to the Court's review of the many material flaws in the DoD's evaluation, and we remain absolutely committed to ensuring that the Department has access to the best technology at the best price."

And Microsoft officials are contending the ruling doesn't change much. A statement from Microsoft Communications chief Frank Shaw:

"This procedural ruling changes little. Not once, but twice, professional procurement staff at the DoD chose Microsoft after a thorough review. Many other large and sophisticated customers make the same choice every week. We've continued for more than a year to do the internal work necessary to move forward on JEDI quickly, and we continue to work with DoD, as we have for more than 40 years, on mission critical initiatives like supporting its rapid shift to remote work and the Army's IVAS."

That IVAS deal for a modified version of HoloLens, by the way, is worth an estimated $22 billion over 10 years, or two JEDIs....

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