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3 Booming Tech Stocks (Not Apple) to Own for 2012

Story updated with Apple's new high and additional IBM information.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- IBM (IBM - Get Report), Qualcomm (QCOM - Get Report) and Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) offer investors that perfect combination of dividend stability and robust growth, say analysts.

From IBM's booming software sales to Qualcomm's ongoing smartphone success and Microsoft's 2012 resurgence, the trio offer plenty of growth opportunities, while still paying decent dividends. Apple (AAPL - Get Report), which has superior revenue and profit growth, pays no dividend, though investors speculate that may change, given the nearly $100 billion cash pile.
IBM is one of the tech heavyweights combining a stable dividend with strong growth.

Clearly, the days when tech dividends were perceived as the antithesis of growth are over.

"In the years of the boom, in Silicon Valley there was a firm dividing line between what would classically be called value stocks and growth stocks," explained Charles King, principal analyst at tech research firm Pund-IT. "Dividends were in the purview of stodgier, older stocks -- it was considered déclassé for tech stocks."

Fast forward to 2012, however, and many investors have come to appreciate dividends, particularly after the economic uncertainty of the last few years. Even Apple, the sexiest of consumer technology stocks, is coming under sustained pressure to rethink its controversial dividend strategy. The iPhone maker has not made a dividend payment since 1995.

Shares of the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant nonetheless hit a new all-time high of $474.22 on Wednesday.

Additionally, traditional non-dividend payers such as Microsoft and Cisco (CSCO - Get Report) have done an about-face. The software giant, for example, reversed its stance in 2003. Cisco, which reports its second-quarter results after market close on Wednesday, paid its first-ever dividend last year, but recently faced calls from consumer advocate Ralph Nader to increase its payment.

TheStreet will be live-blogging Cisco's earnings, starting at 3.45 ET:

Read on for more details on why IBM, Qualcomm and Microsoft are the best of both worlds for investors -- booming, dividend-paying, tech stocks:
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AAPL $93.74 0.00%
CSCO $27.49 0.00%
IBM $145.94 0.00%
INTC $30.28 0.00%
MSFT $49.87 0.00%


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