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SOFTWARE giant Apple has unveiled plans to pay out its first dividend in 17 years.

The US technology company has a pile of cash to the tune of more than $100bn (¤75.5bn).

The firm said that it cannot return cash to shareholders as quickly as it was generating it and will pay a quarterly dividend of $2.65 (¤2) a share beginning in the quarter that starts in July.

The moves will reward investors by using up some of the company's cash hoard of nearly $100bn and likely attract a new group of investors to buy the stock.