Apple will spend $45 billion over the next three years on stock dividends -- beginning in the fourth quarter of this year. It also plans a stock buy-back program, the company announced Monday morning.
The announcement comes days after the Cupertino-based company launched the new iPad.
The company announced the dividend and buy-back plan via a press release and teleconference.. During the 6 a.m. call, Apple fleshed-out its plans for a $10 billion stock buy-back in 2013. The first dividend, at the end of this year, will run $2.65 per share.
Apple said that the per-share number is not static, and could change if the company's fortunes continue to flourish.
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As of the end of last year Apple had $97.6 billion in cash and securities -- making it the most valuable publicly traded company in the world with a market cap of $545 billion.
Apple's announcement was no surprise: Financial experts expected Apple to announce a long-awaited dividend.
The hoard of cash is indicative of the leadership of former CEO Steve Jobs. Remember, in 1997 Apple was close to bankruptcy, warranting a cover story on Wired magazine with the Apple logo and one word: Pray.
And, like a survivor the Great Depression, Jobs was a "saver."
The announcement was a conference call only. No cameras were allowed on campus to record it.