The shareholders have been clamoring for a while that Apple ought to do something with all that cash, and reward those who have been investing in its shares. Not that it hasn't been rewarding them with the share price ramping up exponentially to get to the most valuable company status, but a dividend is a dividend.
buying back its own shares in the September quarter, and has set aside $10 billion for that.That's exactly what Apple will start doling out each quarter, starting with the July one, to the tune of $2.65 a share. Not too shabby, but to soothe the inevitable stock price drop with the size of the dividend, Apple will also start
The share buyback will be spread over three years, and aimed to minimize stock dilution from Apple employees exercising their option grants. As per Tim Cook:
Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO, calculated that "Combining dividends, share repurchases, and cash used to net-share-settle vesting RSUs, we anticipate utilizing approximately $45 billion of domestic cash in the first three years of our programs".
Well, it seems that someone in the market has "anticipated" those $45 billion coming the shareholders way over the next 3 years, since Apple's shares have gained an almost unthinkable amount for a large market cap in the last weeks. The first dividend program for Apple since 1995 also shows that its explosive growth period might be stepping aside for a more balanced approach, while still maintaining high margins.