Today Apple announced both a dividend and a share re-purchase plan which, when combined, will consume 45% of Apple’s current US cash reserves.
The dividend will be $2.65/share/quarter and the buyback will cost $10 billion over three years. The dividend will therefore cost about $2.5 billion per quarter (starting next quarter) and the re-purchase will cost about $833 million per quarter (starting next fiscal year).
However, note that Apple’s cash has been growing far more quickly. It increased by $16 billion last quarter or $37 billion over the last year. This rate of increase is itself increasing.
To illustrate, I prepared the following chart. It shows historic net income, change in cash and a forecast of the costs of the new uses of cash and future net income (based on my estimates).