29 March 2007

Boeing vs Airbus - Book Review

Subtitled The Inside Story of the Greatest International Competition in Business

John Newhouse - published by Knopf

For those of us who follow the epic battle between Airbus and Boeing this is a great read. It covers a lot of territory most of which is public information. Essentially drawing a lot on his previous book "The Sporty Game" this is a story that is written about pride and fall from both sides.

Newhouse takes the view from the protagonists as individuals - disappointingly he doesn’t dwell much on the one player who has had as much to do with the downfall of Airbus namely Noel Forgeard. The book probably spends way too much time laying the blame for Boeing's fumble on Phil Condit who comes off very badly. Neither does he spend much time on the complex multi-national management structure that has hampered Airbus' decision making for so long. So if there is bias in the book it is in the lauding of Boeing's recovery and the success of the 787 vs. the (now) well documented issues of the A380.

Still for those who are on the periphery of the business this is a solid tale - really about people. For those on the inside there is much that is new. The insights from the perspective of Harry Stonecipher and Jean Pierson is especially appealing. Highly recommended to get a second hand copy or read it at the library or Borders ;-)



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