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Apple announces quarterly dividend as part of major stock buy-back

POSTED: Monday, March 19, 2012 - 6:45pm

UPDATED: Monday, March 19, 2012 - 6:49pm

Apple is spreading its wealth around.

CEO Tim Cook announced a dividend Monday, as well as a stock buy-back plan which many see as Apple's reward for churning out such popular products.

The decision by Apple CEO Tim Cook to pay a $2.65 per share quarterly dividend is something the late Steve Jobs was reluctant to do.

Jobs held onto the cash because he was said to remember too well the extremely lean years of the company he helped create, but the world's most valuable company has made so much money selling ground-breaking technology that sharing with shareholders was inevitable.

"If you feel confident Tim Cook and this crew are going to come up with amazing products that people are going to go for, then you are happy," says All Things Digital senior editor Peter Kafka.

Apple's CEO says more amazing products are indeed in the pipeline.

This past weekend saw record sales of its latest version of the iPad, and institutional investors are even seeing a shift from hardware to services.

"It's no longer just a hardware company. It's becoming a services company," notes Silvant Capital Management's Michael Sensoterra.

Services, they say, that include Apple's iTunes and iCloud, Apple's version of digital storage service.

Even after spending $45 billion for the dividend and stock buy-back program, Apple still has so much cash that most of it is parked in offshore banks to avoid what it calls excessive U.S. corporate taxes.

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