Undoubtedly, you are right. However, I believe there is a limit to how much either competitor knows about the other. While it is guaranteed that they both know what projects the other is working on, the depth and focus of that research is what either tries to keep well hidden, in order to force the other company to play "catch-up" for as long as possible.
First, thank you very much for the compliment. I appreciate your sentiments greatly.
When discussing the Market Parity topic, I intentionally left out either companies methods for the exact same reasons you did. Although I believe that any attempt at having a discussion like the current one will naturally lead itself to at least a brief but detailed overview of either company's philosophies, I'd like to delay the inevitable for as long as possible, so as to avoid the ignorant flame-wars so prevelant on this forum these days.
I'd be interested in more specifics on how you compared the last decade's worth of orders, but let's save that for another discussion. I am not surprised at your findings, as they seem to provide more evidence for trends in today's market. There is one other detail to point out in Airbus' rise and Boeing's negative trends - the demise of McDonnell Douglas. Put simply, there was no possible way for Boeing to maintain 75+% of the market. It would have been much too large a stress on the company's and its suppliers' resources. This is not meant to detract from Airbus' success, only to provide another topic of debate - Boeing could not have maintained both its' own market presence and McDD's.
Concerning the 767-400ER, I believe Boeing found itself was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Change the aircraft too much, and you alienate those 767 operators that would be looking for a simple step up from their current fleet. Don't change it enough, and you find yourself needed to update it as soon as it enters service. What is left is an unnatural (and mostly unpopular) compromise.
I intentionally left out discussing the A380 as my last message was running rather long, and I knew there was much more to say. So, let's have it out:
I remain neither for nor against the A380. While I can see the potential it could bring to some airlines, I remain doubtful of 2 things - A) that it will offer the kind of efficiency and passenger appeal Airbus is promising, B) that the need for an aircraft that size is apparent. I'll discuss the latter first - There was a recent article printed by and aviation analysist (sorry, I forgot his name) that was discussing the future once the industry is finally able to right itself. In it, his major point was that the devastation happening to airlines the world over is finally the catalyst the industry has needed to make the kind of changes necessary in order to ensure the future growth of the industry. Of course, this is just one analyst - but his interpretation of the airline industry closely resembled Boeing's - more point-to-point, less hub traffic. While there will always be a need for hub-to-hub super-airliners, just how big a need remains to be seen.
This leads to my former point mentioned. Originally, Airbus intended the A380 to benefit from operating costs 15-20% lower than the 747-400. However, if you looked inside the numbers, one would see that a full 12% of that came from the mere payload increase. Today, I've heard that the A380 will only be @ 14% more efficient as it has gained weight in the design. In other words, that leaves a legitimate 2-6% (did anyone seriously think it would reach 20%) benefit from being an "all-new" design. Think about that.
IMO, you'll never see a 450-seat A380. I say this because for the first time in its history, Airbus is employing the rather "Boeing" approach to designing the aircraft - it is being built for growth. Airbus has always envisioned a larger A380, and the base model is being built with that in mind. It is therefore going to be beefier and thus heavier than it might otherwise be. While this is good news for the economics of an A380-900X, it sounds the death-knell of a shrink version. Airbus would run into the same terrible economics of scale that plagues the 737-600 and the A318, and killed the A330-500X and the 777-100X. In other words, the 450-seat A380-700X would have no better econmics than the current 747-400, let alone a possible -400XQLR or other possible updates.
So, if I may respond to this last quote:
"You are correct regarding the 777 as the superior a/c in that segment and that the 737NG has sold well. In most respects, the 737 is as good as the A320. That aside, what is there?"
One could turn the question around - Airbus is getting strong sales from the A32X line and the A330. But as the A300/310 end their production life, the A340-300 remains dominated by the 777-200ER, and the A340NG & A380 face uncertain futures, what else is there?
Please note I'm not trying to be either pro-Boeing nor anti-Airbus (although my appreciation for the 777 sometimes shadows my writing) but merely trying to "flip the coin."
Honor the warriors, not the war.