Amazon wins injunction in United States government contract fight

14 Février, 2020, 01:06 | Auteur: Auguste Feret

Pentagon officials have said the work would be important to advancing the US military's technological advantage over adversaries.

The Pentagon, which had planned to start work on the contract on Friday, said it was disappointed in the ruling.

The injunction puts a freeze on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, project, which aims to allow the United States 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.

"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", Microsoft vice president of communications Frank Shaw said.

Charles Tiefer, a government contracting law professor at the University of Baltimore, called the order to stop work on the project "striking", noting that judges typically halt work on contracts when they see some merit in the case.

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The Amazon lawsuit said the Defense Department's decision was full of "egregious errors", which were a result of "improper pressure from President Donald Trump, who launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks" to steer the contract away from Amazon "to harm his perceived political enemy" Bezos.

The Pentagon's mistakes in the contract were "hard to understand and impossible to assess" when separated from Trump's "repeatedly expressed determination to, in the words of the president himself, 'screw Amazon, '" court documents filed by Amazon argued.

Telecoms operator AT&T made similar claims after the U.S. took action to block its takeover of Time-Warner, which owns CNN.

On Thursday, Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith of the US Federal Claims Court agreed to the first demand, ordering the US to halt its Jedi activities, which are aimed at making the US Defence Department more technologically agile. She also ordered Amazon to post $42 million in the event the injunction was issued wrongfully.

Amazon requested the court injunction last month.

Amazon also seeks to question other officials involved in the decision and alleged that Trump had a history of inappropriately intervening in governmental decisions. No further details of the decision were immediately available.

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