US Federal Court judge grants AWS request to temporarily block JEDI contract work

Amazon has succeeded in temporarily halting work on the $10 billion JEDI contract, which Microsoft won late last year.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

A US Federal Court judge has granted Amazon Web Services' request that work on the Joint Enterprise Defense Initiative (JEDI) cloud contract be temporarily halted. The Feb. 13 decision comes at a point when Microsoft, which won the $10 billion, 10-year JEDI deal, has already started staffing up for JEDI. 

AWS -- the other JEDI finalist and the odds-on favorite to win the deal -- asked the feds at the end of January to block the Department of Defense and Microsoft from starting work on JEDI. According to Federal News Network, the DoD had previously said it intended to issue its first task order to Microsoft on Feb. 11. Amazon has been contesting the JEDI award since it was announced on Oct. 25, 2019, claiming that politics had played a role in the decision in Microsoft's favor.

On Feb. 10, Amazon sought to depose President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and others about the case in an attempt to overturn the win.

The judge's order today was filed but not made public.

Microsoft corporate communications vice president Frank Shaw sent the following statement: 

"While we are disappointed with the additional delay we believe that we will ultimately be able to move forward with the work to make sure those who serve our country can access the new technology they urgently require. We have confidence in the Department of Defense, and we believe the facts will show they ran a detailed, thorough and fair process in determining the needs of the warfighter were best met by Microsoft." 

I also asked Amazon for comment, but no word back so far.

A quick search on Microsoft's job site shows the company has been working to add new staff for JEDI. One job listing for a Microsoft Azure position noted the company is "strengthening the Cosmos team that will deliver the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure." The posting adds: "The Azure services that underpin our public offerings will be made available as part of JEDI." CosmosDB is Microsoft's NoSQL database. 

Another Microsoft job posting seeking a senior software engineer highlights Azure Data Services as being key to JEDI. Those services CosmosDB, its SQL Database, HDInsight, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Databricks, SQL Datawarehouse, Azure Data Factory, Azure Stream Analytics, and Azure Synapse Analytics.  

The JEDI contract is designed to upgrade legacy DoD systems with newer cloud services. The JEDI Cloud will provide "enterprise-level, commercial IaaS (infrastructure as a service) and PaaS (platform as a service) to the Department and any mission partners for all Department business and mission operations," the government said.

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