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Microsoft's Dividend Policy

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : FINA011 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 500;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 500 + Shipping & Handling Charges extra


Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 1975 - 2004
Pub. Date : 2004
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Microsoft Corporation
Industry : Information Technology (IT)
Countries : Global


By early 2004, Microsoft's cash balance had crossed $50 billion. One persistent investor complaint against Microsoft has been its zero dividend policy. Microsoft has not paid dividends for 17 years. It believes in ploughing money back into its R&D (research and development). In part, due to increasing pressure from shareholders, in 2003 the company declared its first ever dividend for common stock. More recently, Microsoft has announced plans to pay back up to $75 billion of its cash to investors over a period of four years. This includes a one-time special dividend of $30 billion. The case outlines the evolution of Microsoft's dividend policy and the circumstances leading to the huge dividend payment in July 2004.

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The case also outlines the possible repercussions of this payment for other tech companies such as Dell, Cisco, and Oracle.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
Dividend Policy 3
The Road Ahead 6


Microsoft, IBM (International Business Machines Corporation), Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, HP (Hewlett-Packard), CISCO (Computer Information System Company), Annual dividend, Stock purchase programme, Dividend reinvestment, Form 1099, Buy back, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, US Bancorp asset management, Intel, Dividend policy

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