Microsoft Raises Dividend

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Microsoft ( MSFT) hiked its dividend to 23 cents a share after market close on Tuesday, representing an increase of 3 cents, or 15%, on its previous quarterly payment.

The dividend is payable Dec. 13 to shareholders of record on Nov.15, according to a statement released by the Dow component. The ex-dividend date will be Nov.13.

Microsoft, which is one of TheStreet's top tech dividend stocks, jumped into dividends with an annual payment in 2003, and has subsequently earned plaudits for its quarterly returns to shareholders.

This latest boost brings the forward annual yield on Microsoft's shares to 2.95% based on Tuesday's close at $31.17.

The software giant also announced that Raymond Gilmartin is retiring from its board of directors after 11 years of service. Gilmartin will not seek re-election to the board at Microsoft's annual meeting of shareholders, which typically takes place in November.

"Ray has been a strong and insightful member of the board," said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, in the statement. " We appreciate his many contributions over the past eleven years."

With Gilmartin's departure, the Microsoft board will have 10 members.

Microsoft shares dipped 0.24% to $31.1 in extended trading on Tuesday.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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