The Best and Worst of Business 2009

Remembering the good news and bad in a year we won’t forget.
By Leslie D. Helm, Chris Winters, Talia Schmidt, Kate Vesper, David Volk, Randy Woods, Elizabeth Economou and Art Thiel |   December 2009   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Illustrations by Mark Brewer

"thanks for not bailing on us" note.

Also in June: the business unloaded $52.9 million in debt (paying cash and stock to get rid of it) and turned in a new application for Pixantrone to the FDA. Then in August, the company sold $30 million in preferred stock; the proceeds would be used to buy back a lot of common stock that it had been selling off to keep the lights on.

In September came the kicker: The FDA agreed to review Pixantrone. Cell Therapeutics asked for an expedited review, which would still take six months. The company has another drug in the pipeline, but it's still at an early stage, and the company appears to have bet the farm on Pixantrone garnering a favorable review from the FDA.

Cell Therapeutics isn't safe yet, but can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just hope it isn't an oncoming train. —Chris Winters


Best Way to Co-Opt the Competition / Bypass a Porn Filter: Microsoft Bing

It used to be if you wanted to look at dirty pictures, you had to summon your courage, walk into a convenience store, buy a bunch of things you didn't need, then nonchalantly ask for a Penthouse or Playboy as though it wasn't the real reason you stopped in.

Not only has internet porn removed that walk of shame, but Microsoft's new search engine, Bing, made it easy to bypass porn filters at home or work. All users have to do is pick their poison, select video, put the cursor on one of the thumbnails and watch the tiny video play itself out. That's one way to increase market share, at least until Microsoft puts out a "security patch" that fixes that particular "bug."

If you're trying to beat Google at the search game, however, another way is to team up with its biggest rival. Which is why Microsoft's alliance with Yahoo helped Bing make a big boom, allowing the company to attain the No. 2 position in the increasingly important world of search.

Whether Bing's entry into the marketplace will be a good thing over the long haul depends on whether you're a boss, a parent, a Microsoft supporter or a porn-seeking teen.  —David Volk


The Top 10 Stocks of 2009



The Worst of Business 2009


Worst News Story: Underemployment, Unemployment High, Higher

In this dark economic climate, we wait on tenterhooks to

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