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A quick look back at Apple's dividend history

While Apple during the Steve Jobs era wasn't too keen on doling out dividends, Tim Cook has taken steps to return boatloads of money back to shareholders. This past April, Apple more than doubled its capital return program when it increased its quarterly dividend of US$2.65 by 15 percent and authorized the repurchase of $60 billion worth of outstanding shares.

As it stands today, Apple's current quarterly dividend is $3.05. By way of contrast, Microsoft's quarterly dividend checks in at $0.28. Financially speaking, Apple is unquestionably sitting pretty.

To provide a bit of a historical context to Apple's quarterly dividend, I thought it'd be helpful to look back to a time when Apple previously issued dividends; from 1987-1995. Thankfully, Apple has all the requisite data charted out for us over here.

Between April of 1987 and February of 2005, Apple's quarterly dividend amount ranged between $0.06 and $0.12. Over that eight-year period, Apple cumulatively paid out $3.74 in dividends.

At Apple's current dividend levels, Apple pays out more than that in just two quarters. However, if we factor stock splits into the equation (one in 2000 and another in 2005), it follows that Apple in just the last quarter alone doled out more in dividends than it did over the aforementioned eight-year period.

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