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Ultimate Commercial Pirates

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
The folks at Boeing have had a pretty good year. They've booked more orders for new planes than archrival Airbus.

But the Airbus folks may have made the deal to end all deals this week. The Chinese bought about $10 billion worth of new planes and maybe, just maybe, Airbus will make some of those planes in China.

If I were Boeing, I'd quit now. The Chinese are the ultimate commercial pirates. No patent or intellectual property is sacred. Which means once the Chinese figure out how to make sophisticated commercial aircraft, isn't it just a matter of time before you'll be able to buy a fleet of shiny new Airbus looking planes for the rough equivalent of a half dozen used Toyotas?

Americans will in turn, start selling the big airplanes at Wal-Mart. The global marketplace will have finally gobbled up the last great thing we make, but, man will they be cheap.

By Harry Smith