“What would Steve have done? It’s a question that Apple CEO Tim Cook can’t escape. From the naming of the new iPad to his choice of clothing at public events, company-watchers parse Cook’s every move, looking for differences between him and the company’s revered founder Steve Jobs,” Michael Liedtke reports for The Associated Press.

“But Cook seems determined to stamp his own legacy on the world’s most valuable company,” Liedtke reports. “In the biggest break from Jobs’ philosophy since Cook succeeded him as CEO seven months ago, Apple is dipping into its nearly $100 billion cash stash to start paying a quarterly dividend of $2.65 per share to its stockholders.”

Liedtke reports, “The commitment announced Monday draws a clear line of demarcation between Cook and Jobs.”

“Jobs hoarded cash like a man afraid of running out of it. Plagued by memories of Apple’s flirtation with bankruptcy in the late 1990s, he steadfastly resisted calls for the company to pay a dividend,” Liedtke reports. “With Cook in charge, Apple is now ready to herald a new era and dole out about $10 billion in dividends each year. It’s an amount that Apple can easily afford, given the size of its current bank account and the billions more pouring in amid feverish demand for its iPhones, iPads and iPods.”

Read more in the full article here.