JEFF BEZOS' AMAZON EMPIRE is about to strike back. In October it was revealed that Microsoft has managed to grab the $10bn JEDI contract from the US government, but ever gracious in defeat, Amazon has officially filed a suit over the decision. Perhaps Jeff wants a new clock.
Despite having a cool/tragic (delete depending on your opinions on Star Wars) name, JEDI is actually a lucrative US defence operation: it stands for Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure and is a 10-year contract to build cloud infrastructure for the military. It represents $10bn of government money, which is the kind of figure the Bezos would get out of bed for.
While Amazon's case against the government was filed under seal to the US Federal Court, an exhibit lists four videos which makes it pretty clear where the company is going with its attack. And it looks like it comes down to President Trump's obvious animus towards Jeff Bezos.
Washington Post employees want to go on strike because Bezos isn't paying them enough. I think a really long strike would be a great idea. Employees would get more money and we would get rid of Fake News for an extended period of time! Is @WaPo a registered lobbyist?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 17, 2018
Geekwire has had a go at grabbing the videos in question, so here's a quick run down. The first is a clip of Defence Chief Dana Deasy being grilled in the senate. He's directly asked if Trump or the White House had influenced the decision, jumping on allegations made in a new book that the president told defence secretary James Mattis to "screw Amazon" out of the contract.
Another one is from a Trump rally before his election where he moaned about Bezos buying the Washington Post for political influence to help his business operation. Something the president would never dream of, obviously.
Next up, a clip of Trump chatting to reporters about the JEDI contract. Here, he talks about the "tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon."
Finally here's Steve Hilton - in a former life David Cameron's blue-sky thinking man, and rumoured to be the inspiration for Stewart in The Thick of It - lobbying Trump not to give Amazon the contract on Fox News, the president's favourite TV station. "It's not just appropriate but vital that the president kills this contract," he said, referring to it as the "Bezos bailout" and showing a sad lack of solidarity between the follically challenged.
In a statement, an Amazon Web Services spokesperson summed up the company position. "We 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," the spokesperson said. "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."
Like the film series which the JEDI contract gets its name from, it looks like this saga is going to run and run. Only this one is unlikely to delight adults and children alike. µ
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