Nov 23, 2019

Amazon to use Trump comments in challenge to $10B contract awarded to Microsoft

Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon is citing comments made by President Trump in the company's legal challenge to the Defense Department for granting a $10 billion cloud computing contract to Microsoft, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: Amazon is suing the Pentagon, claiming the decision to hand Microsoft the contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) project in late October was influenced by Trump, who has repeatedly and publicly taken shots at Amazon. A company spokesperson has said an "unmistakable bias" affected the Pentagon's decision-making process, per the Post.

  • Amazon notified the Court of Federal Claims that the company plans to show four videos as evidence, including one of Trump at a campaign rally in 2016 and another of a Fox News host telling the president not to award the contract to Amazon, per the Post.

What they're saying:

“We also believe it’s critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence ... Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias- and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified.”
— Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener, per the Post
"We're ready to get to work so the men and women in uniform who serve our country can access the critical new technology they urgently require. We have confidence in the qualified staff at 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."
— Microsoft spokesperson to Axios

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has previously described the procurement process as fair and without outside influence.

Go deeper: Bill Gates tops Jeff Bezos as richest person in the world

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Amazon claims Trump improperly pressured Pentagon to deny cloud contract

Jeff Bezos. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Amazon

Amazon Web Services — which is suing the Pentagon after it selected Microsoft for a massive cloud computing contract — has filed a complaint alleging that President Trump pressured the agency to keep the $10 billion JEDI contract from Amazon and Jeff Bezos.

The big picture: The contract has become a flash point between Amazon and Trump, who has singled out the tech giant and mentioned the JEDI contract in tweets and private conversations. The complaint alleges that Trump “launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks" to steer the contract away from "his perceived political enemy," Jeff Bezos.

Go deeperArrowDec 9, 2019

Bill Gates tops Jeff Bezos as richest person in the world

Bill Gates. Photo: Mike Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times

Microsoft's Bill Gates topped Amazon's Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world for the first time in two years on Friday, Bloomberg reports.

Driving the news: The Pentagon's recently announced decision to grant a $10 billion cloud-computing contract to Microsoft ahead of Amazon may have played a part in the news, according to Bloomberg.

Go deeperArrowNov 16, 2019

The techlash zeroes in on Amazon

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

On the big shopping days of the year — Black Friday, Cyber Monday and, of course, Prime Day — Amazon once shined with its hyper-efficient apparatus for commerce on full display.

No more. Heightened scrutiny of the consequences of its bigness is beginning to supplant the glowing coverage of its success.

Go deeperArrowDec 5, 2019