A federal judge on Thursday ordered the Pentagon to temporarily halt a $10 billion cloud-computing contract with Microsoft after Amazon claimed President Trump caused it to lose out on the lucrative deal.
Amazon, which along with its CEO Jeff Bezos has been publicly derided by President Trump, had been considered the favorite to win the government contract.
When it was awarded to Microsoft in October, the e-commerce giant filed a suit the next month alleging it was because of interference from Trump.
The injunction puts a freeze on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, project, which aims to allow the US military to use artificial intelligence to beef up its fighting capabilities as well as improve communications with soldiers on the battlefield.
The Pentagon declined comment on Thursday, but Defense Secretary Mark Esper has denied there was bias and said the Pentagon made its choice fairly and freely without external influence.
Earlier this week, Amazon’s cloud computing unit, Amazon Web Services, said it was seeking to depose Trump and Esper in its lawsuit over whether the president was trying “to screw Amazon” over the contract.
Amazon also seeks to question other officials involved in the decision and alleged that Trump had a history of inappropriately intervening in governmental decisions.
The judge’s decision to block the deal from moving forward was sealed by the court, as was Amazon’s January request for the injunction.
Microsoft VP of communications Frank Shaw said in a statement that the company was “disappointed with the additional delay,” but expressed confidence that things would work out in the tech giant’s favor.
“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,” he said.
Amazon didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Shares of Amazon were down 0.4 percent Thursday afternoon at $2,151.38, while Microsoft was down 0.5 percent at $183.87.
With Post wires
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