In dollar terms, it will be one of the richest dividends in investing. Apple will pay $10 billion in the first year, placing it just below AT&T and Verizon Communications. Those companies use dividends as their main attraction to investors.
In Apple's case, Jeffrey Snider, president of Atlantic Capital Management, an investment management company, sees the decision to offer a dividend as a possible omen, accidental or otherwise.
He says technology changes too quickly for leaders in one industry to stay on top for long, citing the once dominant companies like AOL, Yahoo and Research in Motion.
Apple can't keep iPads on the shelf now, but there was a time when the BlackBerry looked unbeatable, too. You would have lost a lot of money betting that would continue. Research in Motion stock has dropped 90 percent from its peak nearly four years ago.
"No one thinks this can happen to Apple," he says. But he adds: "This could be the beginning of the end of their growth story."
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