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Boeing Versus Airbus: The Inside Story of the Greatest International Competition in Business Hardcover – January 16, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1400043361 ISBN-10: 1400043360 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (January 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400043360
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400043361
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #725,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this update of his 1982 study of the aviation industry, The Sporty Game, Newhouse takes us inside the seesaw battle between the world's two remaining manufacturers of big airliners. "Mighty Boeing and the arriviste Airbus," both massive corporations and emblems of national pride, are worth exploring at length. Yet while the former New Yorker writer has invested a tremendous amount of effort in interviews and research, he fails to assemble his facts, quotes and informed judgments into a coherent story. Newhouse introduces a fleet of issues: international sensitivities, cost overruns, governance structure, missed deadlines, the U.S. airline crisis, purchase negotiations, engine mechanics, government subsidies, the economics of plane size, the composition of airplane wings. But his touch is too light. Strong personalities—most prominently, Boeing's controversial CEOs—flit in and out, never quite coming to life; the planes themselves fare no better despite pages of description. The thousands who work in the airplane and airline industries may enjoy the details; the rest of us—even frequent fliers—might not be as interested. (Jan. 16)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Newhouse, former government advisor, tells the story of making and selling passenger airplanes and presents a case study from 1985 to the present of two industry giants, Boeing and its archrival, Europe's Airbus. The author paints a picture of a fiercely competitive industry that eliminates participants who misread the market; who build planes too big, too small, or too costly; who match new planes with wrong engines; or who are just unlucky. The financial stakes are enormous. Today Boeing and Airbus are the sole providers of large airplanes, and we learn about their strengths and weaknesses and how their fortunes ebbed and flowed through the years. This is also a human story of the players within these massive organizations and their very influential governments. The author concludes that each company will capture close to a 50 percent market share and "each is likely to do well much of the time and even prosper," making airlines and air travelers the winners. An excellent book. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

Although its not a page turner (most non-fiction books aren't), it is very interesting.
A. Boehm
It also appears that the book was tremendously rushed to press with insufficient review as there are quite a number of sentences that just do not make sense.
BrianF
If you aren't a huge aerospace junky but have a casual interest then this book is for you.
Mike Beri

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Ben Rothke on January 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Common wisdom states that Boeing is a commercial airline powerhouse, manufacturing the world's best planes with state of the art manufacturing processes, led by a first rate management staff. On the other side is Airbus, a bit-player whose survival has only been sustained via state-supported welfare programs, whose sponsors pour endless funds into this money-losing effort. In Boeing Versus Airbus: The Inside Story of the Greatest International Competition in Business, John Newhouse shows how both perceptions are erroneous. Boeing is far from being the world-class company most perceive it to be, and Airbus in fact makes some pretty good airplanes.

The issue of Boeing vs. Airbus is one with significant consequences, and with a significant amount of interviewing and research, John Newhouse has written a fascinating and rewarding work on this most important topic.

For anyone with an interest in the aviation industry, Boeing Versus Airbus is a most enjoyable and fascinating book. In chapter after chapter, the book details what goes on behind the door or Boeing and Airbus.

Newhouse lays it on the table in chapter 1 when he notes that when Airbus outsold Boeing in 2004 and 2005, the root cause of this historic juxtaposition was that Boeing's troubles were the result of a number of factors; from their arrogance, a tendency to rest on their laurels, taking their customers for granted, combined with a corporate culture enmeshed in politics.

Boeing then realized the depths of its problems and attempted to change its course. This, combined with bad-luck and mismanagement at Airbus, contributed to Airbus finding itself a distant number two in 2006. So much so that Airbus NA President Henri Courpron lamented that Airbus failed to manage being number one.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By R. Bengelink on February 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As someone who was in Boeing management through this time period, I found the book to be disappointing. It appears to me that Newhouse set out to extend his very useful "A Sporty Game" to show how Airbus not only came from behind, but totally overran Boeing in the commercial airplane market. Then, when he had that story almost ready to publish, the Airbus speeding train started to come off the tracks. So, instead of waiting for the train wreck to play itself out, he patched in some of the latest events and rushed into print - leaving a very muddled story for the average reader. In my view the book would have been much more interesting and useful if the author - and publisher - had had the patience to wait another 18 months or so for the situation to settle down, and then built the book around a more balanced story line.

By the way, to try to tell the story of Boeing leadership through this period without honestly describing the key role that Alan Mulally played in the entire approach to the post-777 airplane development strategy has led to a very distorted picture.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
You fellow Bus.Ad. majors or those who have taken such courses, know the case study method. This is story of a market which became dominated by Boeing, but likely due to arrogance, complacency, merger and EU mkt. contender hungry to dethrone, created a volatile highly competitive twosome now vying for global jet market.

Granted this is not well structured book, but the historical market sequence it describes is not so logical and structured as other reviewers might have desired. Trends are shown however, and followed-up and played out throughout the pages.

Not knowing really anything about such a market, intrigued now by all the breaking drama: possible entry of Asian competitor from likely Japanese or Chinese; role of government subsidy; McDac culture change at Boeing. These and more are all unfolded as they chronoligally played themselves out.

What strikes one as true weakness in American industry is our obsession with short-term profit/stock price versus market share. Interesting how intelligent market share aggression is managed so well by Japanese while not at the expense of profit nor technology. These are result of market share, not means.

Yesterday's big news of A380's landings here took on perspective from this read. Locally interested in brief snippets about Ford's new head with a Boeing past.

Great read
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mike Beri on February 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
First off this book is a lot heavier on Boeing than Airbus. Since Boeing is older and in the US it's understandable. I've been facinated by the war between the two companies for a while now. This book has finally filled in the gaps and more. It also led to the answer why Air Canada has 120 A320's that I flew on last month. And if that's a more confortable, modern airliner than the 737...then Boeing better bite the bullet and start desigining it's replacement!

The book can get a little dry in places and there are an awful lot of names to keep track of. But those are few and far between and there is tonnes of facinating information. If you aren't a huge aerospace junky but have a casual interest then this book is for you. I find that I don't see airplanes quite the same as before I read this book.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By James Atkins on January 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Newhouse's previous book on commercial aviation, The Sporty Game, was an excellent overview of a highly secretive industry. This book is even better. He details not only the fierce rivalry between two profoundly dysfunctional companies, but the dogfights between engine manufacturers, airlines, aircraft leasing companies, low cost carriers, legacy airlines and so much more most of us never dream of when we shuffle on board a cramped tube full of humanity. He seems to have interviewed nearly everyone of consequence in the industry for this book. Highly recommended to anyone who wants to know what real high-stakes bet-the-house gambling is really like.
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