Judge temporarily halts work on JEDI contract until court can hear AWS protest

by admin February 16, 2020 at 10:34 am
Judge temporarily halts work on JEDI contract until court can hear AWS protest – TechCrunch

A sealed order from a judge today has halted the $10 billion, decade-long JEDI project in its tracks until AWS’s protest of the contract award to Microsoft can be heard by the court.

The order signed by Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith of the U.S. Court Federal Claims stated:

The United States, by and through the Department of Defense, its officers, agents, and employees, is hereby PRELIMINARILY ENJOINED from proceeding with contract activities under Contract No. HQ0034-20-D-0001, which was awarded under Solicitation No. HQ0034-18-R-0077, until further order of the court.

The judge was not taking this lightly, adding that Amazon would have to put up $42 million bond to cover costs should it prove that the motion was filed wrongfully. Given Amazon’s value as of today is $1.08 trillion, they can probably afford to put up the money, but they must provide it by February 20th, and the court gets to hold the funds until a final determination has been made.

At the end of last month, Amazon filed a motion to stop work on the project until the court could rule on its protest. It is worth noting that in protests of this sort, it is not unusual to stop work until a final decision on the award can be made.

This is all part of an ongoing drama that has gone on for a couple of years since the DoD put this out to bid. After much wrangling, the DoD awarded the contract to Microsoft at the end of October. Amazon filed suit in November, claiming that the president had unduly influenced the process.

As we reported in December, at a press conference at AWS re:Invent, the cloud arm’s annual customer conference, AWS CEO Andy Jassy made clear the company thought the president had unfairly influenced the procurement process:

“I would say is that it’s fairly obvious that we feel pretty strongly that it was not adjudicated fairly,” he said. He added, “I think that we ended up with a situation where there was political interference. When you have a sitting president, who has shared openly his disdain for a company, and the leader of that company, it makes it really difficult for government agencies, including the DoD, to make objective decisions without fear of reprisal.”

Earlier this week, the company filed paperwork to depose the president and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

The entire statement from the court today halting the JEDI project:

**SEALED**OPINION AND ORDER granting [130] Motion for Preliminary Injunction, filed by plaintiff. The United States, by and through the Department of Defense, its officers, agents, and employees, is hereby PRELIMINARILY ENJOINED from proceeding with contract activities under Contract No. HQ0034-20-D-0001, which was awarded under Solicitation No. HQ0034-18-R-0077, until further order of the court.

Pursuant to RCFC 65(c), plaintiff is directed to PROVIDE security in the amount of $42 million for the payment of such costs and damages as may be incurred or suffered in the event that future proceedings prove that this injunction was issued wrongfully.

As such, on or before 2/20/2020, plaintiff is directed to FILE a notice of filing on the docket in this matter indicating the form of security obtained, and plaintiff shall PROVIDE the original certification of security to the clerk of court. The clerk shall HOLD the security until this case is closed.

On or before 2/27/2020, the parties are directed to CONFER and FILE a notice of filing attaching a proposed redacted version of this opinion, with any competition-sensitive or otherwise protectable information blacked out. Signed by Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith.

n

Blue Origin says it will deliver the first two production BE-4 engines this year, with deliveries to ULA to integrate them on the Vulcan for its first static hot fire tests. Blue Origin also aims to fly New Glenn equipped with the engines for their first test flight in 2021. It’s in the process of running longer tests to prove out the engines, and will aim to qualify them in their entirety through life cycle testing, which aims to replicate the kind of stress and operating conditions the hardware will undergo through its actual lifetime use.n

Part of Blue Origin’s testing process will include retrofitting and upgrading Test Stand 4670 at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, allowing the company to test a BE-3 engine one side and a BE-4 engine on the other.n

It’s an exciting time for Blue Origin and its BE-4, and the engine has been a long time in the making. What comes next could set it up as an integral and core part of the U.S. space launch program going forward, regardless of how its own launch vehicle plans proceed.n”,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

Blue Origin is opening its new rocket engine production center in Huntsville, Ala. on Monday, the company said today on Twitter. The new Huntsville facility will be able to produce its rocket engines at a much higher rate than is currently possible, which will be useful as the company is using its in-development BE-4 engine […]n”,”protected”:false,”author”:5302483,”featured_media”:1946613,”comment_status”:”open”,”ping_status”:”closed”,”sticky”:false,”template”:””,”format”:”standard”,”meta”:”outcome”:””,”status”:””,”crunchbase_tag”:0,”amp_status”:””,”relegenceEntities”:[],”relegenceSubjects”:[],”jetpack_publicize_message”:”Blue Origin’s new rocket engine production facility opens on Monday https://tcrn.ch/2vA1fPO by @etherington”,”categories”:[576702152,174,17396],”tags”:[8017,728166,429683886,303232,99651,428593023,438229],”crunchbase_tag”:[428589270],”tc_stories_tax”:[],”tc_event”:[],”jetpack_featured_media_url”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/BlueOrigin_BE4_hotfire.jpg”,”jetpack_publicize_connections”:[],”shortlink”:”https://tcrn.ch/2vA1fPO”,”rapidData”:”pt”:””,”pct”:””,”featured”:false,”subtitle”:””,”fundingRound”:false,”seoTitle”:””,”seoDescription”:””,”premiumContent”:false,”premiumCutoffPercent”:1,”tc_cb_mapping”:[“slug”:”blue-origin”,”cb_name”:”Blue Origin”,”cb_slug”:”blue-origin-organization”,”cb_link”:”https://crunchbase.com/organization/blue-origin”,”slug”:”united-launch-alliance”,”cb_name”:”United Launch Alliance”,”cb_slug”:”united-launch-alliance-organization”,”cb_link”:”https://crunchbase.com/organization/united-launch-alliance”],”associatedEvent”:null,”event”:null,”authors”:[5302483],”hideFeaturedImage”:false,”_links”:”self”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1946490″],”collection”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts”],”about”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/types/post”],”replies”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/comments?post=1946490″],”version-history”:[“count”:5,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1946490/revisions”],”predecessor-version”:[“id”:1946633,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1946490/revisions/1946633″],”authors”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/5302483″],”https://techcrunch.com/edit”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1946490&action=edit”],”author”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/5302483″],”wp:featuredmedia”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/media/1946613″],”wp:attachment”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/media?parent=1946490″],”wp:term”:[“taxonomy”:”category”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/categories?post=1946490″,”taxonomy”:”post_tag”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tags?post=1946490″,”taxonomy”:”_tc_cb_tag_taxonomy”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/crunchbase_tag?post=1946490″,”taxonomy”:”tc_stories_tax”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_stories_tax?post=1946490″,”taxonomy”:”tc_event”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_event?post=1946490″],”curies”:[“name”:”wp”,”href”:”https://api.w.org/rel”,”templated”:true],”_embedded”:{“authors”:[“id”:5302483,”name”:”Darrell Etherington”,”url”:””,”description”:”Writer covering space, science and health tech. Formerly covering automotive and mobility tech, and previously an employee of Apple and also of Shopify.”,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/darrell-etherington/”,”slug”:”darrell-etherington”,”avatar_urls”:”24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/188039e12983eb749171a75cfd01378d?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/188039e12983eb749171a75cfd01378d?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/188039e12983eb749171a75cfd01378d?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”,”links”:”homepage”:”http://techcrunch.com”,”facebook”:”http://www.facebook.com/darrell.etherington”,”twitter”:”https://twitter.com/etherington”,”linkedin”:”http://www.linkedin.com/in/etherin”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/darrell-etherington”,”position”:”Writer”,”cbDescription”:”

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Week in Apps: YouTube TV cancels Apple’s rev share, more bad news for mobile voting, WhatsApp hits 2B users”,”content”:{“rendered”:”

Welcome back to Thisu00a0Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.n

The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads in 2019 and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019, according to App Annieu2019s recently released u201cState of Mobileu201d annual report. People are now spending 3 hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps arenu2019t just a way to pass idle hours u2014 theyu2019re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.n

In this Extra Crunch series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.n

This week, we look at YouTube TV’s decision to stop revenue-sharing with Apple, another mobile voting app with serious flaws, new Apple launches in coding and AR, Microsoft’s game-streaming service Project xCloud arrival on iOS and other notable app news and trends, including WhatsApp’s big 2 billion user milestone, and more.n

Headlinesn

YouTube TV fights back against Apple’s cut of in-app subscription revenuen

This week, YouTube emailed customers subscribed to its YouTube TV service by way of Apple’s in-app purchases to let them know that this subscription offering will be discontinued starting on March 13, 2020. Current subscribers will have their subscription canceled automatically on their billing date after March 13, the letter said.n

This is a pretty severe way for Google to end its subscription revenue-sharing with Apple, however. Most companies that decide to shut off in-app subscriptions still continue to honor those from existing subscribers — they just stop selling to new customers. In YouTube TV’s case, it’s actually ending its relationship with all its customers on Apple devices with the hope they’ll return and resubscribe. That’s quite a risk, given that YouTube TV is not the only streaming TV service out there, and customers getting their subscription canceled may take this opportunity to shop around. The timing is also poorly thought-out, given that YouTube TV just picked up new subs following Sony’s PlayStation Vue shutdown — and now it’s kicking them out.n

The move makes Google the latest company to rebel against Apple’s 30% cut of all in-app payments (which drops to 15% in year two). A growing number of app publishers are refusing to share a cut of their revenue with Apple — even saying that Apple’s decision to charge this fee is anti-competitive. For example, Spotify believes Apple’s fee makes it more difficult to compete with Apple’s built-in music service, and has raised the issue repeatedly to regulators. Netflix also stopped paying the “Apple tax” over a year ago.n

Mobile voting app Voatz, used by several states, was filled with security flawsn

""n

Above: Voatz, via The NYTn

Last week, we looked at how a smartphone app meant to tabulate votes from the caucuses really screwed things up in Iowa. This week, MIT researchers took a look at mobile voting app Voatz, which has been used to tally votes for federal elections in parts of West Virginia, Oregon, Utah and Washington as part of various mobile voting pilot programs. The researchers found the app was riddled with security flaws that would let attackers monitor votes or even change ballots or block them without users’ knowledge. Attackers could also create a tainted paper trail, making a reliable audit impossible — despite Voatz’s promise of using blockchain technology to increase security. One security expert, speaking to VICE, called the app “sloppy” and filled with “elementary” mistakes.n

Coming on the heels of the Iowa caucus mobile voting disaster, this latest news delivers another huge blow to the promise of mobile voting in the U.S.n

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