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Apple to dole out $2.5 billion to shareholders

Making good on its dividend program plans, the tech giant chips away at a $45 billion pile of cash and hands out some legal tender to its shareholders.

Apple shareholders will be cashing in tomorrow -- the day has come for the second installment of the mega-rich company's dividend program. Apple, which has 935 million outstanding shares, will distribute $2.65 per share to its shareholders -- adding up to a grand total of a $2.5 billion payout, according to Apple Insider.

This is just the second time in the last 17 years that Apple has paid some of its excesses to its shareholders. The company, which hasn't paid a regular cash dividend since 1995, has billions in cash and liquid assets and carries no debt on its books.

Apple first announced its dividend program in March, saying it planned to spend $45 billion and regularly give shareholders $2.65 per share per quarter. Additionally, the company's board authorized a $10 billion share repurchase program beginning on September 30, 2012. The dividend and repurchase programs are scheduled to take place over the next three years.

While hinting at the possibility of the dividend program, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview in February, "It's clear to everyone that we have more cash than we need to run the business on a daily basis."

Apple is one of the most lucrative companies in the world. According to Apple Insider, its most recent earnings report in October showed that has $121.4 billion in cash. In September, it's stocks reached an all-time high of $705.07 per share on the day the iPhone 5 became commercially available -- but have since dropped.

The company's $2.5 billion per quarter dividend program is expected to span the next three years as Apple chips away at its $45 billion pile of cash.