- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 21, 2010

REDMOND, WASH. (AP) - Microsoft is raising its quarterly dividend for the first time in two years in a move that will return more of the software maker’s cash to its shareholders.

The increase announced Tuesday means investors who own Microsoft stock as of Nov. 18 will receive 16 cents per share. That’s a 23 percent increase from the 13 cents a share that Microsoft Corp. had been paying for the past eight quarters.

Microsoft’s increase comes a week after another technology heavyweight, Cisco Systems Inc., announced plans to pay a stock dividend for the first time.

Both companies have been stockpiling cash during the recession.

Microsoft ended June with nearly $37 billion in cash. The software maker has been paying dividends since 2004.