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U.S. Judge ends Amazon’s challenge with $ 10 billion Cloud contract after Pentagon cancellation

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WASHINGTON, July 9 (Reuters) – A US judge on Friday rejected Amazon.com’s legal challenge to the Department of Defense’s decision to award a $ 10 billion JEDI cloud computing project to rival Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), after the Pentagon canceled contract.

Amazon.com had accused then-President Donald Trump of claiming that the former president was putting improper pressure on military officials to steer the contract away from Amazon. The Pentagon said Tuesday it expected the new multi-trillion-dollar contract to be split between Amazon and Microsoft.

Amazon did not protest the dismissal of its 2019 lawsuit.

Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith of the U.S. Federal Court agreed to dismiss the case at the request of the government, saying the case was now difficult.

Trump publicly taunted then-Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and repeatedly criticized the company. Amazon had tried to question Trump about his role in the contract decision.

The Pentagon hopes to have the first awards in April 2022 for its new Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC).

John Sherman, acting Chief Information Officer for the Department of Defense, said Tuesday that he expects both Microsoft and Amazon to get cloud contracts.

Microsoft said in a statement that the company was confident that it “will continue to succeed as DoD selects partners for new work.”

Amazon’s Amazon Web Services cloud unit said it agreed with the Pentagon’s decision to cancel the contract. It said the initial award was “not based on the benefits of the proposals and instead was the result of outside influence that has no place in public procurement.”

In April, Campbell-Smith refused to reject Amazon’s claims that the Trump administration was interfering in the Pentagon’s award to Microsoft after putting it on hold indefinitely in February 2020.

The now-canceled Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud (JEDI) contract was budgeted for as much as $ 10 billion dollars and was part of a broader digital modernization of the Pentagon with the goal of making it more technologically flexible.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler

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