December 2009 Current Events: Business/Science News
Here are the key events in business and science news for the month of December 2009.
- G.M. Chief Executive Fritz Henderson Resigns (Dec. 2): Fritz Henderson, the chief executive of General Motors for just eight months, announces his resignation. Though G.M. started coming out of bankruptcy over the summer, the company and believes Henderson, who has worked for G.M. for 25 years, is not producing good enough results and needs a leader with a fresh perspective. He will be replaced by an interim chief executive, current chairman Edward Whitacre Jr.
- G.E. Sells NBC Universal to Comcast (Dec. 3): The General Electric Company (G.E.) sells NBC Universal to Comcast, the largest cable operator in the United States, in a joint venture that will cost Comcast $13.75 billion. Comcast will own 51% of NBC while G.E. will retain ownership of the other 49%.
- Unemployment Falls to 10% in November; Economy Shed 11,000 Jobs (Dec. 4): In a surprising piece of good news, the unemployment rate in November fell to 10%, down from its peak of 10.2% in October. Employers shed only 11,000 jobs in November as well. This jobs report is the strongest since the recession began over two years ago.
- Banks Will Repay More Bailout Money Than Expected (Dec. 6): Banks and other companies that received bailout money no source will pay back more than the Treasury Department initially expected. All but $42 billion of the $370 billion that was loaned out will be returned, officials now say. This revision could lower the government's deficit to $1.3 trillion, down from the $1.5 trillion initially forecasted.
- Britain Levies 50% Tax on Bankers' Bonuses (Dec. 9): To the surprise and despair of UK's financial community, the British government announces that it will levy a 50% tax on those bankers who receive bonuses over £25,000. The tax is largely a symbolic, political move; it will raise approximately £550 million, an amount that will barely put a dent in the national deficit. Similar measures have been discussed in the United States, but so far no bills have been passed in Congress that would tax U.S. bankers.
- Europe Drops Antitrust Case Against Microsoft (Dec. 16): European regulators drop their antitrust case against U.S. software maker Microsoft after more than a decade of legal battling. The agreement forces Microsoft to offer consumers 11 different Web browser options that will compete with the company's browser, Internet Explorer. Microsoft has paid over €1.67 billion in fines and penalties over the issue.