This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
See Cramer's multi-million dollar portfolio for FREE and get his new book Get Rich Carefully! Learn More

10 Top Innovative Companies

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Innovation boils down to two elements: creating something and making people want it. These companies make both look simple.

The American consumer spends his or her year having various products and services thrown their way until they're wading through a stew of other companies' stuff. An innovative business or brand, though, makes enough great products or does enough right to make portions of that stew go down a little smoother and make the entire buying experience worth savoring. These 10 companies did that with flourish this year, some with help from a familiar name, others despite sea-sized obstacles between themselves and the buyer base. All, however, have something to be proud of -- and a lot more to offer -- as the year draws to a close:

1. Microsoft (MSFT)
Credit where credit is due. Microsoft is back in the game.

Yes, we know, Windows Phone 7 manufacturers have only "sold" 1.5 million devices in six weeks -- roughly equal to the number of Android phones activated every seven days. Yes, we know it's been more than a year since the launch of Windows 7 and that there's still no market for the Zune. But anyone remotely associated with the video game industry knows that Microsoft is no longer playing around with its Xbox and Xbox Live stable of products.

First off, after slimming its Xbox 360 hardware and just about eliminating the "red circle of death" failures that cost gamers hundreds of dollars in console investment, Microsoft snagged the console sales lead from Nintendo's Wii and has held it for months. Also, after years of taking a back seat to the Wii's fun little motion controllers and Miis and getting beaten to market by Sony's (SNE) PlayStation Move motion device, Microsoft sold 1 million versions of its $150 controller-free Kinect motion-capture device within 10 days of its Nov. 4 release and 2.5 million before the end of November. By all accounts, that should have been a tough sell, considering the console itself goes for as little as $199, but a good concept and great third-party partner products such as Viacom's (VIA) infectious Dance Central remind us what Microsoft is capable of when its back is to the wall.

Adding ESPN to Xbox Live and putting it all on Windows 7 Phones may be for naught if nobody buys the handsets, but it may have been enough to engage Sony, whose rumored PlayStation phone has appeared in photos on gamer blogs as a tease to a potential Consumer Electronics Show debut in January. Way to change the game, Microsoft.

Stock quotes in this article: AAPL, GOOG, MSFT, DIS, F, AMZN 

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
DOW 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
S&P 500 1,864.85 +2.54 0.14%
NASDAQ 4,095.5160 +9.2910 0.23%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs