Tech giant Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) announced its earnings on Thursday, upticking revenues and sending investors buying shares today. Microsoft has a long history of sharing cash with shareholders, spending $14.3 billion on dividends and stock buybacks in the last year. Now I think it's likely we'll see MSFT pay out even more of its profits back to shareholders with a dividend hike.
Microsoft is the standard bearer in the PC software market, earning the majority of its revenues through successful software franchises such as the Windows operating system and the Office suite of productivity tools. But the firm was one of the first big tech companies to expand its reach -- Microsoft's peripheral offerings include mobile phone software and video game systems.>>10 Top-Rated Tech Stocks That Pay Big Dividends Mobile devices in particular have been one area where MSFT has made some public missteps. The firm will need to deploy its massive $60 billion cash and investment reserve cautiously if it wants to provide the best return for shareholders. I'd expect a bump to the firm's 20 cent dividend payout in the next quarter. After all, once the payout the firm announced last month goes out, Microsoft will have kept its dividend flat for four quarters. Microsoft shows up on recent list of 5 Stocks to Buy if They Crash on Earnings and 4 Earnings Reports Bigger Than RIM's.