A judge has cleared the way for a showdown between tech giants Amazon and Microsoft to provide a $10bn computing contract that has been called the “Pentagon war cloud”.

The two companies, both based in Seattle, were among several major companies that bid to provide the US military with cloud computing and artificial intelligence on the battlefield as part of the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure plan, or JEDI.

Oracle and IBM were had been cut from the competition at a previous stage, but Oracle had filed a legal challenge, alleging a conflict of interest and claiming the Pentagon had shown bias towards Amazon.

On Friday, a federal judge in Washington DC, dismissed Oracle’s claim, clearing the way the US military to now choose between Amazon and Microsoft to provide a system it believes will give it technological advantage over rivals.

“We conclude…the contracting officer’s findings that an organisational conflict of interest does not exist and that individual conflicts of interest did not impact the procurement were not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law,” wrote Eric Bruggink, of the court of federal claims. “Plaintiff’s motion for judgment on the administrative record is therefore denied.”

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