Apple plans to use $45 billion of its cash reserves over the next three years

It's no secret that Apple is a cash machine. The company rakes in billions of dollars thanks to a legion of loyal fans that lineup hours in advance to purchase its latest and greatest phones and tablets. The company has also seen a surge in its traditional PC business thanks to strong sales of its MacBook Pro/MacBook Air lineup of notebooks and iMac all-in-one desktop computers.
In late January, Apple reported profit of $13 billion on revenues of $46 billion for fiscal Q1 2012. The company saw its stock price cross the $500/share threshold in early February, making it worth more than Microsoft and Google combined. More recently, AAPL has danced with the $600/share mark. In addition, Apple has roughly $100 billion in cash/securities on hand – a figure that CEO Tim Cook said is “more than we need to run the company.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook [Source: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg]

This morning, the company announced a $10 billion stock buyback program that will start in fiscal 2013. The buyback will take place over the course of three years with the primary goal being to "[neutralize] the impact of dilution from future employee equity grants and employee stock purchase programs."
A more immediate action being taking place is a quarterly dividend starting in fiscal Q4 2012. The quarterly dividend will equal $2.65/share.
“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," said Cook.
According to CFO Peter Oppenheimer, these programs will burn through $45 billion of Apple's cash reserves over the next three years.

Updated @ 5:12pm
AAPL just closed above $600/share for the first time in its history. 

Source: Apple

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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