Pentagon stalls $10 bn cloud contract eyed by Amazon

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

Amazon was considered a strong contender to provide technology for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) program -- 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 U.S secretary of defense.

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 Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) program," defense department spokeswoman Elissa Smith told.

"No decision will be made on the program 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 defense industry.

Amazon chief Bezos has defended the company's bid for the contract, saying it was important to support U.S defense 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.

(Agencies)