Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple product launch earlier this year… (Kevork Djansezian / Getty…)
Apple Inc.'s plan to launch a stock buyback program as well as start paying a quarterly dividend was welcome news to investors in the world's most valuable company.
Apple will pay a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share, starting in its fiscal fourth quarter, which begins July 1. And a $10 billion share buyback program will begin next fiscal year, reports our colleague David Sarno.
It's big news -- and not just because of the big bucks involved. The development also suggests a break with the way Apple was run under late Chief Executive Steve Jobs: For years, the company had rejected demands to share that money with stockholders.
The about-face left some consumers -- you know, the men, women and children who purchased the products that made such wealth possible -- grumbling on Monday, wondering about their piece of the pie.
In a conference call with investors this morning, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said the company would spend about $45 billion on the two-pronged approach over the next three years.
"These decisions will not close any doors for us," Cook told analysts and reporters. He said the company will still have plenty of money on hand to "maintain a war chest for strategic opportunities."
Here's a look at consumer reaction to the news:
On Yahoo: "How about bringing some jobs back to America and then more people can afford to buy your products"
On Twitter: "Nice. Apple ... amassed a profit of $97.6 billion. I'm expecting a personal letter of thanks from them for my constant purchases."
And: "It would have also been quite nice had Apple announced it was donating some of its monies to philanthropic causes. #JustSaying"
From TechCrunch: "it'd be nice if apple could provide a few more jobs for the people who made 2011 one of the best years in retail ever."
From the New York Times: "How about using some of that money to create US jobs?...The American tax payer is funding Apples accumulation of cash through corporate tax breaks."
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