Apple has paid its third dividend to shareholders, delivering about $2.5 billion at $2.65 per share across the iPhone maker's 939 million outstanding shares.
The company initially announced plans for its dividend program back in March, as well as a $10 billion share buyback program. It said that each quarter it would pay shareholders a $2.65 per share dividend, with this quarter's payment occurring on February 14.
CEO Tim Cook stated that Apple has "used some of our cash to make great investments in our business through increased research and development, acquisitions, new retail store openings, strategic prepayments and capital expenditures in our supply chain, and building out our infrastructure. You’ll see more of all of these in the future."
“Even with these investments, we can maintain a war chest for strategic opportunities and have plenty of cash to run our business. So we are going to initiate a dividend and share repurchase program."
Over the next three years, Apple said its planned buyback and dividend plans will take $45 billion from its cash pile. During the fourth quarter of 2012, the firm said it made $16 billion in cash after which its cash pile increased to $137.1 billion. Consequently, Apple is the richest company on the planet.
Apple will continue to pay new quarterly dividends about six weeks after the end of each quarter. However, it has faced a lawsuit from a key shareholder who believes the company should share more of its cash, with Apple emphasizing that it's "evaluating" every possible option to do so.