Apple today announced a stock buyback plan as well as a quarter dividend, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In news announced ahead of this morning’s conference call with investors, Apple’s board has authorized a $10 billion share repurchase program starting in fiscal year 2013 to be executed over three years. In addition, the Cupertino, California-based company is expected to initiate a quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share sometime in the fourth quarter, which begins July 1.

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook:

“We have used some of our cash to make great investments in our business through increased research and development, acquisitions, new retail store openings, strategic prepayments and capital expenditures in our supply chain, and building out our infrastructure. Even with these investments, we can maintain a war chest for strategic opportunities and have plenty of cash to run our business. So we are going to initiate a dividend and share repurchase program.”

Today’s news is a change from policies instituted by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who was opposed to stock buybacks and dividends.

To say Apple has been awash in cash lately would be an understatement. Through December, the company’s cash, cash equivalents and short-term and long-term marketable securities totaled approximately $97.6 billion. One year earlier, the company had $59.7 billion in cash.

In total, Apple is expected to spend $45 billion over the next three years.

Apple’s shares, which are up 45 percent since January, closed at $585.57 on Friday.

To listen to today’s conference call, click here.