Seems like Boeing is doing what every successful company is doing: Niche marketing.
More over, they are giving customers who are looking at the A380, but still sitting on the fence, a low-risk alternative. Some major 744 customers (like BA
, JAL, maybe even Qantas to an extent) are questioning if they could opperate a 550 passenger aircraft economically, but at the same time, nobody wants to replace a 20 year-old aircraft with a 20 year-old design.
If the 747-Adv is up to date, has a slight growth in capacity, and has a tad more range, I'd expect a few customers to head back to Boeing. And if the 747-Adv has some system/engine and avionics commonality with the 7E7, kudos to Boeing.
Remember that if MDD hadn't done away with the DC-8, or had re-engineered it as a twin, they might have had a competitor to the 757/67, thus giving airlines an option and boosting MDD sales. If that had happened, perhaps MDD would still be around today.
I've often wondered why MDD didn't have a product between the MD
-80 and the DC-10. Manufactures who go head-to-head rarely come out alive. This is very difficult for both Airbus and Boeing as the only way to have a complete aircraft portfolio is to have almost identical aircraft. Some markets, like the 100-200 seat narrowbody market, can sustain both the A320 and 737NG, but it becomes complicated with widebody and superjumbo aircraft.
Both must tread carefully or they risk building an unfavorable product, and seceeding marketshare and profit to the other. This is why I felt the 747-500/600 were terrible ideas.
Funny, I'm sure Boeing saw increased frequency, point to point in the market and thus designed the 7E7. Maybe Airbus have it right after all.
Boeing predicted a market for about 500 superjumbos and maybe 3,000 7E7-sized aircraft, while Airbus predicted almost the exact opposite. At that point, Boeing said "have fun with the A380," scuttled the 747-500/600, started on the Sonic Cruiser, ditched that for efficency, and four years later the 7E7 began collecting firm orders.