Pentagon stalls $10 bn cloud contract eyed by Amazon

San Francisco, August 2

The Pentagon has put off awarding a $10 billion cloud computing contract sought by Amazon, saying on Thursday that the process would be reviewed by the newly-appointed defense secretary.

Amazon was considered a strong contender to provide technology for the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure (JEDI) programme--a contract that is also being pursued by Microsoft- but critics argued that the bidding process favored the Seattle-based technology titan.

The move to stall the contract process came a week after Mark Esper was confirmed as the new US secretary of defence.

Esper was selected by US President Donald Trump, who has lashed out at Amazon and company founder Jeff Bezos, who owns The Washington Post.

“Secretary Esper is looking at the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure (JEDI) programme,” defence department spokeswoman Elissa Smith told AFP.

“No decision will be made on the programme until he has completed his examination.”

The contract has caused controversy over whether internet giants claiming to be trying to make the world better should be involved in the defence industry.

Amazon chief Bezos has defended the company’s bid for the contract, saying it was important to support US defence efforts, even if it is unpopular.

“This is a great country and it does need to be defended,” Bezos said late last year at a conference in San Francisco. AFP