Amazon has opened legal proceedings against the Pentagon, alleging that the online giant was denied a $10bn (£7.6bn) US defence contract due to US President Donald Trump’s personal vendetta against chief executive Jeff Bezos.
In a court filing made public today, Amazon claimed that its failure to secure the contract was result of improper pressure from the president.
The filing said Trump “launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer the Jedi Contract away from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to harm his perceived political enemy-Jeffrey P. Bezos.”
The tension between the two men stems from Trump’s hostility to the way that the Washington Post, which has been owned by Bezos since 2013, has covered his presidency.
The Department of Defence (DoD) awarded the contract, which allows the company to handle some of the US military’s most sensitive data and communications, to Microsoft in October.
Amazon says its cloud computing division Aws would have been successful if not for a flawed procurement process.
The complaint added: “[The] DoD departed from the rules of procurement and complied – consciously or subconsciously – with its Commander in Chief’s expressed desire to reject AWS’ superior bid.”
Amazon had been the favourite to win the contract, as it is the only company capable of encrypting data to the necessary “top secret” level.
Commenting on the decision to award the contract to Microsoft, Amazon said:
“Any meaningful review of that decision reveals egregious errors on nearly every evaluation factor, from ignoring the unique strengths of AWS’ proposal, to overlooking clear failures in Microsoft’s proposal to meet Jedi’s technical requirements.”
The process has already triggered one legal challenge, from fellow cloud computing giant Oracle, another unsuccessful bidder.
Amazon explicitly refers to a claim in a book by a former Pentagon official published earlier this year which says that Trump wanted to “screw” Amazon by preventing it from getting the Jedi contract.