Looks like the Malaysians either have a super duper scoop, or they
simply jumped the gun.
All the other news stories say the decision is yet to be made. Note
the very last paragraph.
"With a $40 billion contract in the balance, suspense is high among
the two teams vying to build the Air Force's next-generation fleet of
The rival bidders were continuing to campaign for the contract even as
the decision was being finalized. Boeing Co. took out a full page ad
in Monday's edition of USA Today, touting the delivery of a KC-767
tanker to Japan.
That morning, EADS North America's chief executive, Ralph Crosby, gave
an update on the contest to Alabama Gov. Bob Riley over breakfast in
Washington, D.C., where Riley was attending a meeting of the National
Also attending the conference was Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire,
who said she expected Boeing to prevail.
"I'm banking on us getting it," Gregoire said, according to Hearst
Newspapers. "I just think we win if it's done absolutely without
politics, based on experience, workforce, all of that. So I'm feeling
good about this."
Gregoire said a congressional inquiry or a formal legal protest could
follow a Northrop win.
"If we don't win, then I think there'll be a lot of questions asked
about why in the world would Boeing, with that workforce, that
expertise, that experience, that history -- how could they not have
Meanwhile, both teams were looking for omens. They got a bizarre one
late Tuesday when the Malaysian Sun, a free daily newspaper published
in Kuala Lumpur, reported on its Web site that the Air Force had
selected the Northrop KC-30 for the tanker contract. The anonymous
report offered no attribution for the information. "
Oh great, depend on the French if there is a war on. How much to you want
to bet that spares for the aircraft will dry up if they decide to stick a
finger in our eye over foreign policy as the French are wont to do.
At least when we spend money on war fighting equipment in our country, a
large part of the expendature comes back to the treasury in the form of
We are going down the waste pipe.
Or maybe not :
The Malaysia Sun, an online news service, reported Tuesday evening that EADS
The newspaper, which cited no sources for its "scoop," did not provide a
phone number for the paper to be contacted. Its online e-mail function was
In lightning fashion, Google News indexed the story, and links appeared on
several news aggregator Web sites.
Aerospace analyst Scott Hamilton got an e-mail alerting him about the story.
"I have no idea how the Malaysia Sun would have picked up that. For all I
know, they made it up," said Hamilton, of Leeham.net. "It was very bizarre."
An EADS spokesman said his office received many phone calls because of the
Meanwhile, speculation on a message board dedicated to The Boeing Co. on
Yahoo.com made other definitive statements -- such as one that declared that
Boeing had won.
In reality, a decision had not been announced. It is expected later this
Anonymous message board posters tried to use the stock markets as a gauge --
Northrop's stock was up and Boeing's stock was down on Wednesday morning.
"Market knows, Boeing lost," said one Yahoo poster, who goes by cool_katzs.
"Hilarious. Stick to garbage cans, Boeing."
Tallicat9300, who identifies himself as a 34-year-old aerospace worker from
St. Louis, responded to that thread: "Moron. No announcement until Friday.
Boeing wins this competition hands downs. It was not really even close. We
are talking about the French for gods sake."
But do the markets really know? Was there some conspiracy-laden leak
somewhere influencing insider trades? Was the Malaysia article the result of
a mistranslation, or of investors trying to influence the share prices of
the companies involved?
It's all speculative nonsense, aerospace analyst Paul Nisbet says. An
anonymous public can say whatever it wants to try to influence the markets.
Unscrupulous people throw out information to get the price up, or down,
depending on their investment interests, he said.
Northrop's stock was up on news about an agreement with Loral Space &
Communications to cross-market satellite operations. Boeing's stock was down
because the stock always fluctuates, said Nisbet, who works for JSA Research
Inc. in Newport, R.I.
"This is all market action," he said. "I don't think there is any leak of
any consequence from the Air Force on this."
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