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AWS calls for work to cease on Microsoft’s $10bn Pentagon cloud contract

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has issued a legal challenge to force Microsoft to pause work on a $10bn cloud computing contract for the US Department of Defense.

The cloud computing giant has filed a motion urging judges to block work on the contract until its appeal has been heard.

AWS claims Microsoft was awarded the contract following political interference from Donald Trump, who has a long-running feud with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Analysts believe the contract, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Insfrastructure Cloud (JEDI), could help Microsoft close the gap on AWS’s lead in the cloud wars.

But AWS claimed last month that it lost out on the bid for the award after Trump staged a series of “public and behind-the-scenes attacks” on the company.

“[The Department of Defense’s] substantial and pervasive errors are hard to understand and impossible to assess separate and apart from the President’s repeatedly expressed determination to, in the words of the President himself, ‘screw Amazon,’” according to a filing submitted by AWS in December.

In a statement accompanying its latest filing, AWS said: “It is common practice to stay contract performance while a protest is pending, and it’s important that the numerous evaluation errors and blatant political interference that impacted the JEDI award decision be reviewed.”

The Department of Defense said in October: “The acquisition process was conducted in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. All offerors were treated fairly and evaluated consistently with the solicitation’s stated evaluation criteria.”

Oracle is also appealing the decision, on the grounds that such a lucrative deal should not have been handed to a single supplier.

When news of the contract award became public, Microsoft’s share price soared, pushing its market cap to $1.1tn. At the time of publication, its valuation has risen further still to $1.26tn.