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The fight by Microsoft and Amazon for the Pentagon’s cloud contract

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(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Microsoft logo is pictured on a store in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 25, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Defense Department dealt a blow to Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) on Tuesday when the Pentagon announced it was scrapping the Trump-era award of a $10 billion JEDI cloud-computing project.

The government will hold a new round of bids and allow multiple companies to compete, including rival Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN).

In November 2019, Microsoft beat favorite Amazon for the contract, called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud, or JEDI, which is part of a broad modernization of the Pentagon’s information technology systems.

Here is a timeline of important dates leading up to the award:

JULY 26, 2018: The Pentagon released the final request for proposals, seeking a single winner to allow for the most rapid adoption of the technology. The contract, valued at $10 billion over 10 years, was set to be awarded in September.

AUG. 6, 2018: Oracle Corp (NYSE:ORCL) filed a protest with the Defense Department over its plans to award the contract to a single company instead of allowing for multiple winners, arguing that the Pentagon would be locked into a legacy contract for a decade or more.

OCT. 8, 2018: Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Inc’s Google said it was no longer vying for the contract, in part because the company’s new ethical guidelines did not align with the project, without elaborating.

NOV. 14, 2018: The Government Accountability Office denied the protest filed by Oracle, finding that the agency “reasonably” determined that the single-award approach was in the government’s best interests for reasons including national security concerns and complied with applicable law.

APRIL 26, 2019: Amazon and Microsoft were selected to continue competing for the contract.

JULY 19, 2019: Four Republican members of U.S. Congress, including House Armed Services Committee ranking member Mac Thornberry, sent a letter to Trump urging him to move forward with the $10 billion cloud contract.

AUG. 1, 2019: The Pentagon decided to put on hold its decision to award the $10 billion cloud-computing contract after Trump said his administration was examining Amazon’s bid following complaints from other technology companies.

OCT. 25, 2019: The Defense Department said that Microsoft won the contract.

NOV. 14, 2019: Amazon said it is contesting the Pentagon’s award to Microsoft, expressing concern that politics got in the way of a fair contracting process.

NOV. 15, 2019: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper rejected any suggestion of bias in the Pentagon’s decision after Amazon announced plans to challenge it.

DEC. 9, 2019: Amazon accused U.S. President Donald Trump of exerting “improper pressure” and bias that led the Department of Defense to award a lucrative $10 billion cloud contract to rival Microsoft.

JAN. 22, 2020: Amazon filed a motion in court to pause the Department of Defense and Microsoft from carrying out the deal until a court rules on its protest of the contract award.

FEB. 10, 2020: Amazon sought to depose Trump and Esper in its lawsuit over whether the president was trying “to screw Amazon” when the Pentagon awarded a contract for cloud computing to rival Microsoft.

MARCH 7, 2020: A U.S. judge said Amazon is likely to succeed on a key argument of its challenge to the decision to award the cloud deal to Microsoft.

APRIL 15, 2020: The Pentagon’s inspector general said it could not determine whether the White House influenced the award of a $10 billion contract to Microsoft over Amazon after several officials said their conversations were privileged “presidential communications.”

APRIL 17, 2020: A U.S. judge put on hold Amazon’s lawsuit.

SEPT. 4, 2020: The Defense Department completed a re-evaluation of its $10 billion JEDI cloud computing contract proposals and determined that Microsoft bid was the best.

APRIL 28, 2021: A judge refused to dismiss Amazon’s claims alleging the Trump administration interfered in the Pentagon’s award of its $10 billion JEDI cloud computing contract to Microsoft.

The fight by Microsoft and Amazon for the Pentagon’s cloud contract