Apple today announced what many were expecting, given its huge war chest of around $100 billion in cash: future stock dividends and a stock repurchasing program.
The company released the news in a conference call early Monday. It's amassed a huge pile of cash in recent years thanks to the runaway successes of its iPhone and iPad, a smartphone and a tablet, respectively, that are dominant in their categories.
Apple said it plans a quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share sometime in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, which begins in July.
The company also plans to spend $10 billion over three years to buy back its own stock, beginning Sept. 30. The company said it hopes to minimize dilution of stock grants to employees in the future.
All told, the company expects to spend about $45 billion over three years on the twin programs of dividends and buybacks.
That still leaves it with $55 billion in the bank. That would still leave it with more cash than Microsoft, which has nearly $52 billion. Here's a list from list year of tech companies with big cash piles. (It's not quite up to date, though.)
“Even with these investments, we can maintain a war chest for strategic opportunities and have plenty of cash to run our business," Tim Cook said in a news statement today. "So we are going to initiate a dividend and share repurchase program.”
Listen to the Apple conference call here.