Amazon won a temporary lift on Microsoft's military work
A federal court just ordered a temporary halt of Microsoft's work on a $10 billion military cloud contract that Amazon was at first expected to win. In December, Amazon sued in hopes of reversing the decision, claiming that President Donald Trump had bias against Amazon, which hurt its ability to have a fair shot at the project.
This comes on the heels of Amazon first requesting the injunction in January. Both the documentation of the initial block request, and the judge's decision to issue a temporary halt, are sealed by the court.
But a public court notice confirmed the injunction on the Pentagon, and it says that Amazon must establish a security fund of $42 million to be used for damages, if the court subsequently finds the injunction to be improper.
There are no further details at this time.
Trump may be biased against Jeff Bezos, argues Amazon
On Thursday, Microsoft said in a statement that is was disappointed by the delay, and that it believes the project will eventually be allowed to move forward under their stewardship.
Pentagon officials have stressed that this contract is important to progressing the U.S. military's technological superiority over its global adversaries. Amazon was initially considered to be the front-runner for the contract.
Known as Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), the contract is expected to store and process massive amounts of classified data, which will allow the U.S. military to improve battlefield communications between soldiers, and use artificial intelligence to speed up its war-planning and fighting capabilities.
Early this week, Amazon had asked to depose Trump for its case. In July 2019, Trump said other companies had told him that the contract "wasn't competitively bid," claiming that the administration would "take a very long look" at it.
However, Trump holds a widely-known animosity toward The Washington Post, owne by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Presumably, Amazon is arguing bias on these grounds.
At present, Amazon wants to question the former and current secretaries of defense, in addition to other selected officials.
Updates forthcoming on a rolling basis.