Investors filed a lawsuit against Amazon, claiming the company failed to properly process competing proposals before selecting Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin startup to launch the satellites for its new home internet service, codenamed Project Kuiper.
According to the lawsuit’s plaintiff, the Cleveland Bakers and Teamster’s Pension Fund, Amazon decided to accept Blue Origin’s introductory contract after spending less than an hour reviewing it. The contracts give Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance and Arianespace responsibility for launch plans for the 3,236 satellite constellation, SpaceNews reported via Delaware Business Court Insider (a paid publication).
The lawsuit says Jeff Bezos’ role as founder of Amazon and Blue Origin created a conflict of interest. Bezos’ unique position allowed him to “identify and negotiate with launch providers for Amazon, while at the same time having the freedom to negotiate on Blue Origin’s behalf against Amazon.” Additionally, the lawsuit argues that SpaceX is due to the Rivalry between Bezos and Elon Musk, the space company’s founder, was not taken into account, despite it being “the launch vehicle provider with the best proven track record and lowest prices in the industry.”
“The allegations in this lawsuit are completely without merit, and we look forward to proving this at trial,” an Amazon spokesperson told Cord Cutters News.
SpaceX could not immediately be reached for comment.
Project Kuiper would work similarly to SpaceX’s Starlink service, offering high-speed internet from space. That means Amazon’s service could potentially average close to 90.55 Mbps downstream and 9.33 Mbps upstream on Starlink, with a latency of 43. Amazon is reportedly hoping for less than 100 US dollars per month to offer a cheaper option.
Amazon plans to launch the first satellites for its new home internet service later this month. The launch allows Amazon to test the service before beginning larger production in 2024.
Photo credit: Blue Origin