HomeTechAmazon snubbed SpaceX because of Jeff Bezos feud with Elon Musk
Amazon snubbed SpaceX because of Jeff Bezos feud with Elon Musk
September 1, 2023
Amazon shareholders are suing the e-commerce giant for allegedly refusing to consider Elon Musk’s SpaceX for a profitable satellite contract because of his ongoing feud with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Cleveland Bakers and Teamsters Pension Fund (CB&T) filed a lawsuit on Monday in the Delaware Court of Chancery on behalf of Amazon against Bezos, current CEO Andy Jassy, and other top executives at the company.
The shareholders accused Amazon’s founder and executives of “consciously and intentionally breached their most basic fiduciary responsibilities” in its decision to purchase rocket launchers for its Project Kuiper satellite internet system.
The lawsuit alleges that Amazon’s board awarded contracts worth $2.7 billion to Blue Origin, Bezos’ space company, and did not consider rival SpaceX, which is owned by Musk, as an alternative launch provider despite its track record.
Two other firms — United Launch Alliance and Arianespace — were also awarded contracts for the Project Kuiper deal.
In total, Amazon said it expects to pay the three firms around $7.4 billion for launch services through 2028.
CB&T, which is seeking unspecified damages and legal fees, alleges that SpaceX has the best track record of any of the companies that were awarded contracts and that a deal with Musk’s firm would have cost Amazon less.
Amazon’s board “excluded the most obvious and affordable launch provider, SpaceX, from its procurement process because of Bezos’ personal rivalry with Musk,” according to the lawsuit.
Amazon’s Project Kuiper is a planned network of over 3,000 satellites designed to beam broadband internet to remote regions.
That makes it a competitor to Musk’s Starlink, which has thus far launched more than 4,500 satellites into space.
“The claims in this lawsuit are completely without merit, and we look forward to showing that through the legal process,” an Amazon spokesperson told The Post.
Musk, the wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of $235 billion, and Bezos, who is the third wealthiest with a fortune estimated by Bloomberg Billionaires Index at $162 billion, have sparred with one another through social media in recent years.
The CB&T lawsuit even includes a screenshot of a post that Musk wrote on X — the platform formerly known as Twitter — in which he taunts Bezos after SpaceX beat out Blue Origin and won a massive $2.9 billion contract from NASA to build a “human landing system” for a manned mission to the moon.
“Can’t get it up (to orbit) lol,” Musk wrote in the post dated April 26, 2021.
Bezos protested NASA’s decision to go with SpaceX. He sued the federal government, alleging that it showed favoritism to Musk’s company.
A judge rejected Bezos’ claims, but NASA said that it would solicit bids from two companies for its other lunar lander contracts.
“If lobbying & lawyers could get u to orbit, Bezos would be on Pluto rn,” Musk wrote in another social media post dated Aug. 11, 2021.
Musk hit back at Bezos after Blue Origin claimed that SpaceX’s Starship was “what immense complexity & heightened risk looks like for going back to the moon.”
“The sad thing is that even if Santa Claus suddenly made their hardware real for free, the first thing you’d want to do is cancel it,” Musk wrote on X.
Last year, Musk took a swipe at Bezos over Amazon’s release of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” declaring that author J.R.R. Tolkien was “turning in his grave.”
The Post has sought comment from SpaceX and Blue Origin.