Microsoft remains one of the most profitable information technology companies in the world - with its founder, Bill Gates still the wealthiest man in America - and in September it raised its dividend payments by 25%, the largest increase since it started making quarterly dividend payments to its shareholders.
It announced that its dividend for the quarter would rise to 20 cents a share - up from 16 cents in the previous quarter - and is the sixth time that Microsoft has raised its dividend since 2004.
Analysts say one of the reasons for this is that Microsoft's directors feel that the company's growth rate by itself would not be sufficient to attract investors. Technological obscelence?
The rapid increase in tablet computers, the rise of mobile phone penetration and the sterling performance of Apple's products have given rise to concerns among some commentators that Microsoft might be drifting towards technological obscelence.
In mid-September Microsoft launched a preview of Windows 8 at the BUILD conference and outlined the new tools it's launching for developers to write Windows applications for more than a billion people that use Microsoft's software every day.
Among other things in the new operating system is increased use of touch technology for interfacing through Metro style.
Microsoft says that Windows 8 will be even more stable than Windows 7 but will deliver improvements in performance, security, privacy and system reliability.
Its Windows Store will allow developers to sell applications directly to users.
Read more on Microsoft's new device line-up for 2011.
Read the report on BUILD 2011.
Read more about Windows 8.
Read Microsoft raises dividend.
About Paddy HartdegenPaddy Hartdegen has been working as a journalist and writer for the past 40 years since his first article was published in the Sunday Tribune when he was just 16-years-old. He has written 13 books, edited a plethora of business-to-business publications and written for most of the major newspapers in South Africa.