Apple opens the sluice gates: cash for shareholders!
Apple shareholders will start getting money in the form of dividends from the beginning of July, a move Steve Jobs had long resisted.
Tim Cook: opens the purse strings
The company is also buying back $10 billion of its stock.
Investors will receive a quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share starting in the period beginning July 1, Apple said in a statement. The share buybacks will start on Sept. 30 and will run over three years.
CEO Tim Cook said earlier this year that Apple had "more than we need to run a company" and that the board was considering its options.
Apple said it plans to pay out about $45 billion over three years.
The growing pile of money in Apple's coffers follows the introduction of the iPhone, the best-selling smartphone, and the iPad, the No 1 tablet computer.
Last week the company began selling the new iPad: three million are believed to have been snapped up. Since the launch of the iPad in 2010.
55 million have been sold.
Apple is now the world's most valuable company. Its value was $545.97 billion, based on its closing price of $585.57 on March 16. Company No 2 is Exxon Mobil, worth $407.4 billion.