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Boeing wants to be more like Apple: CEO

Boeing CEO Jim McNerney waits to be introduced to speak, in front of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner under construction as U.S. President Barack Oba
Boeing CEO Jim McNerney waits to be introduced to speak, in front of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner under construction as U.S. President Barack Oba

By Alwyn Scott

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Boeing Co Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney said the company wanted to be more like Apple Inc in the way it innovates, rather than doing a "moon shot" development every 25 years.

Speaking in Seattle at an annual conference with analysts, McNerney also said the company's job was to improve its execution and focus on productivity to reduce costs and improve margins.

"We want to be more like Apple than the apocryphal every 25 years" product development cycle at Boeing, McNerney said.

Boeing Chief Operating Officer Dennis Muilenburg expanded on the Apple comparison, saying Boeing's forthcoming 777X jet was an example of using "evolutionary" technology steps to deliver a "revolutionary" product.

"We're still going to deliver revolutionary capability," he told analysts at the conference. "The way we deliver is to build on technology we have. We get to the same end point if you take 10 low-risk, well-managed steps rather than one big step."

Apple has delivered a string of wildly popular consumer electronic devices in the last decade, ranging from the MacBook notebook computer to the iPod Touch media player, the iPhone and the iPad tablet computer.

McNerney said Boeing was able to apply innovation from its high-tech, carbon-fiber composite 787 Dreamliner to other aircraft and products because of the investment made on that project.

Deferred costs of the 787 stand at about $23 billion and are expected to peak at $25 billion in 2017 before subsiding as the cost of production falls below the sales price for the jet.

McNerney said Boeing intended to increase its share of the twin-aisle jetliner market, where Airbus is its arch rival.

Boeing's defense, space and security business is focused on achieving $2 billion in additional cost savings and on capturing a "disproportionate share" of growing international markets, McNerney said.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Andrew Hay and Andre Grenon)

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