German Economy and Amazon Wins Big

Grind for February 23rd
“When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.”

– Voltaire


The Headline

Will the coronavirus push Germany into a recession?

The Grind

A country is said to suffer an economic recession when it experiences two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Berlin reported 0% economic growth during the last quarter of 2019 and had been hoping to change things in 2020.

Then the coronavirus happened.

The Details

Germany’s economy depends heavily on its exports to China, whose economy is frozen by the coronavirus outbreak.

“The impact from the coronavirus on the Chinese economy is likely to delay any rebound in the manufacturing sector as it at least temporarily disrupts supply chains,” says German economist Carsten Brzeski.

“Stagnation, with a risk of a technical recession, currently looks like the only dish served.”

Germany’s struggles in 2019 have been blamed on poor auto sales, ongoing weakness in its manufacturing sector, the US-China trade war, and concerns over Brexit.

“The [eurozone] economy should be about to turn a corner, but the coronavirus now means that [the first quarter] could well be a write-off,” laments eurozone economist Claus Vistesen.

Economic growth for the eurozone during the final period of 2019 was a mere 0.1%, prompting European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde to consider boosting monthly bond purchases or moving interest rates further into the negatives.

Tech News

The Headline

US judge rules in favor of Amazon in lawsuit against US Defense Department

The Grind

Amazon won an injunction this week blocking Microsoft from beginning work on a lucrative cloud computing contract with the Pentagon.

Amazon, which also bid on the contract, insists President Trump pressured the Pentagon to choose Microsoft due to his dislike of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, is a massive cloud computing project that aims to make the Pentagon more technologically efficient, including improving the military’s remote access to data and keeping classified information away from hackers.

The contract is expected to be worth $10 billion over the next decade.

If Microsoft is allowed to move forward with the project, it could threaten Amazon’s position as leader of the cloud sector.

The Details

In seeking the injunction, Amazon said it was “important that the numerous evaluation errors and blatant political interference that impacted the JEDI award decision be reviewed.”

Microsoft said it was “disappointed with the additional delay,” but has “confidence in the Department of Defense” and believes “the facts will show they ran a detailed, thorough and fair process.”

In the meantime, Amazon is waiting for a response from the court to see if it can seek testimony from President Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

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