Apple Inc.’s decision to pay shareholders a quarterly dividend marks more than a change in the company’s philosophy about its cash—it also underlines a subtler shift in how Chief Executive Tim Cook is communicating with shareholders.
Under company co-founder Steve Jobs, Apple insisted on building up its cash and rarely solicited input from large shareholders. But following Mr. Cook’s appointment as CEO last August and the death of Mr. Jobs in October, the approach changed.
Around January, Apple took the rare step of asking some large shareholders their opinions about what to do with its ballooning cash and other liquid assets, said people familiar with the matter. As of the end of December, Apple’s cash and liquid assets totaled $97.6 billion.