Microsoft boosts dividend 25% as cash, investments top $50B

Microsoft today announced plans to boost its quarterly dividend to 20 cents, a 25 percent increase, returning to shareholders a larger piece of the company’s still-growing cash pile. For all the hand-wringing that goes on about Microsoft’s future these days, its balance of cash and short-term investments finished the recent fiscal year at $52.8 billion, up from $36.8 billion at the same point the previous year.

“Our strong financial results enable us to increase our dividend as part of our ongoing commitment to return capital to our shareholders,” said Peter Klein, the company’s chief financial officer, in a news release announcing the higher dividend.

Bloomberg News explains that Microsoft is hamstrung in part by the fact that much of its cash is overseas, which would require it to pay taxes if it needed to bring money back into the country to pay a higher dividend.

Microsoft said in the news release that it’s continuing its $40 billion share repurchase program approved by its board in September 2008, running through September 2013. About $12.2 billion was left to repurchase under that authorization as of June 30.

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