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In 2004, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) became one of the first major tech companies to begin paying a regular quarterly dividend. Since then, the dividend has increased seven times, and is now yielding about 2.9 percent of its share price, which is up over 16 percent this year to date. Shareholders will receive 23 cents for each share they own, a 15 percent increase from the previous 20 cents.
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Although Microsoft is increasing its payout in the face of declining personal computing sales and a soft economy, its dividend growth has slowed. The company saw 25 percent and 23 percent increases in the last two years. Microsoft’s chief financial officer, Peter Klein, has said that dividends tend to stay in step with growth in operating income, while taking into account cash on hand — $62 billion for the software giant.
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