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By Ryan Tracy
WASHINGTON -- President Trump said he would ask the Pentagon to scrutinize a cloud-computing contract for the U.S. military, adding uncertainty to a multibillion-dollar race between contract finalists Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp.
"I'm getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon. They're saying it wasn't competitively bid," Mr. Trump said Thursday in response to a reporter's question at the White House. "I will be asking them to look at it very closely to see what's going on."
The president's comments further complicate the award for the cloud deal, known as Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), and others have previously called for the Pentagon to reopen the bidding process. The contract is scheduled be awarded by the end of August, the Pentagon has said, and is valued at up to $10 billion.
The JEDI bidding process has been dogged by allegations of conflict of interest involving an Amazon employee, but moved closer to completion earlier this month when a federal judge ruled in the Pentagon's favor in a lawsuit filed by Oracle Corp.
Amazon and Defense Department officials couldn't immediately be reached for comment. In the past, the Defense Department has said there was no impact on the contract-award process, and Amazon has denied getting any special treatment.
Defense officials have designated Amazon and Microsoft as finalists for the contract, drawing complaints from Oracle and International Business Machines Corp. Those concerns appear now to have reached the president's ear.
"I've had very few things where there's been such complaining," Mr. Trump said. "Complaining from different companies, like Microsoft and Oracle and IBM. We're going to take a look at it, we'll take a very strong look at it."
A White House spokesman didn't immediately respond to questions about what the administration might do to further look at the deal.
Representatives of Oracle, Microsoft and IBM had no immediate comment.
Before and since his election in 2016, Mr. Trump has leveled a series of attacks against Amazon -- about everything from the taxes the online giant collects on sales to its delivery practices. He also has criticized Amazon's chief executive, Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post.
--Catherine Lucey contributed to this article
Write to Ryan Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 18, 2019 15:49 ET (19:49 GMT)
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