Donald Trump has, over the last few days, been deeply upset that the Washington Post reports on his behavior and has publicly said he wants to go after Amazon. This is incredibly ill-advised, on any number of levels, but particularly because it’s come out that, right before this started, he dined with the co-CEO of an Amazon rival for a lucrative Pentagon contract.
Amazon, remember, does not make money on selling you things. It makes money selling you space on the internet to store your stuff, and it would, very much, like to help the Pentagon securely store its digital stuff. Which makes the fact that the President dined with Safra Catz, who leads the database firm Oracle, something of an attention-getter, as Business Insider notes:
Bloomberg reported on Tuesday evening that Trump would dine with Catz and the billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel. The White House did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider about what was discussed at the meeting. The meeting came amid Trump’s war of words with Amazon. On Tuesday, he tweeted that he was “right” about his criticism of the internet giant’s use of the US Postal Service, later telling reporters that Amazon was causing numerous store closures.
This is even hinkier than it sounds. Thiel, one Trump’s few allies in Silicon Valley, is locked in a bitter legal fight with the Armed Forces’ procurement apparatus. That battle is incredibly complicated and nuanced, in part because it is incredibly difficult and complicated to have the military buy and use your products, making it a messy legal business.
Of course, this could simply be an innocent dinner between friends. The problem is perception; if Amazon decides that somebody high up in the military deliberately denied its bid, that’s, at best, a massive ugly lawsuit that will take years and millions of tax dollars to resolve. At worst, it might lead to criminal prosecution. In other words, some already murky waters have just become much harder to navigate, and by the end of this, it’s unlikely either Amazon or Oracle are going to be happy with what they get.
(Via Business Insider)