Microsoft raises dividend 15 percent

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September 19, 2012 7:00 AM EST

Microsoft Corp raised its dividend by 15 percent on Tuesday, increasing its dividend yield to about 2.9 percent, at the high end of the technology sector.

The world's largest software company said it will start paying 23 cents per share per quarter in December, up from 20 cents. That is the seventh increase since it started paying a regular quarterly dividend in 2004.

Microsoft, whose share price has been static for the last decade, was one of the first big tech companies to introduce a dividend, starting with an annual payout in 2003, then a special dividend and regular quarterly payments the year after.

Its new dividend yield of 2.9 percent, based on its closing share price of $31.17, compares with about 3.9 percent for Intel Corp and 1.6 percent for IBM, which are both long-time dividend payers.

Cisco Systems Inc, which paid out its first quarterly dividend last year, stands around 2.9 percent. Apple Inc, which restarted dividends after a 12-year hiatus only this year, is about 1.5 percent. Google Inc does not pay dividends.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

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