The war between the world's richest man and the world's most powerful man is getting hotter by the day.
Online retail giant Amazon.com, accused the world's most powerful man, President Trump, of exerting "improper pressure" on the Pentagon to keep the lucrative cloud-computing deal from going to his perceived nemesis, the world's richest man, Jeff Bezos.
In a complaint filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, Amazon said the president "launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks" on the contract and the company to steer the contract away from Amazon and toward Microsoft. Trump’s aim was "to harm his perceived political enemy—Jeffrey P. Bezos," according to the complaint, which was made public Monday.
While Amazon had long been considered the favorite to win the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, contract, which is valued at as much as $10 billion over the next decade, the DOD eventually gave the contract to Amazon's cloud competitor Microsoft.
On July 19, Trump called for an investigation of the Pentagon contract, before the award. "I’m getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and Amazon," Trump told reporters at the time. "I will be asking them to look very closely to see what’s going on." The Defense Department investigated and cleared Amazon of conflict-of-interest allegations, but it nonetheless ruled in Microsoft was more qualified for the job. As the WSJ notes, a top Pentagon technology official, Dana Deasy, denied in congressional testimony that Trump or the White House influenced the JEDI selection process.
Over the weekend, Jeff Bezos stepped up his attacks on the Trump administration, warning Saturday that America will find itself "in trouble" if the leadership of large tech companies decide not to work with the Pentagon, although it was not quite clear where else large tech companies will find such a generous client as the US government. China?
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Bezos, whose Amazon Web Services and Blue Origins firms are both in competition for defense dollars, received applause from the pro-defense crowd when he stated that the United States "are the good guys. I really believe that."
“If big tech is going to turn their backs on the Department of Defense, this country’s in trouble. That just can’t happen,” he said.
His comments also threw shade at competitor Google, who last year pulled out of a Pentagon agreement due to internal pressure from a group of employees. Some in the defense world have criticized Google leadership for not standing up to the relatively small but vocal group, a stance Bezos aligned himself with while not naming his competitor.
“It is the job of the senior leadership team to say ‘no,’ ” Bezos said. “So it’s on the senior leadership team to say: ‘I understand these are emotional issues, that’s OK. We don’t have to agree on everything. But this is how we are going to do it. We are going to support the Department of Defense. This country is important.’” But nothing is more important than the country's multi-billion dollars...