Thanks, Bill!

Microsoft said Tuesday that it will boost its dividend, buy back shares and offer a $3-per-share one-time payout as part of a plan to return up to $75 billion to shareholders over the next four years.

Bill Gates announced that he will donate his share of the proceeds — he owns over 1 billion shares, so that comes to $3+ billion — to charity.

Since there’s rarely a shortage of top executives reaming shareholders while lining their own pockets, either through misconduct — Tyco, WorldCom, Adelphia, Enron — or just incompetence, I don’t think Microsoft and Gates get nearly the credit they deserve for this . . .

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