Microsoft today raised its quarterly dividend by 22% to 28 cents per share and said its board had authorised a new share buyback programme of up to $40 billion.

The new share repurchase programme, which has no expiration date, replaces a $40 billion programme that was set to expire at the end of the month.

The five cent increase in the quarterly dividend, worth about $400m is about three cents per share more than most analysts had expected. The dividend is payable on December 12.

The news comes just ahead of Microsoft's investor meeting on Thursday.

Microsoft has been undergoing a lot of change, with chief executive Steve Ballmer unexpectedly saying he would soon retire, just weeks after the company's results reflected dismal sales of its new Surface tablet.

Microsoft said this month it would buy Nokia's phone business and license its patents for €5.44 billion, a bold foray into mobile devices that also brings potential chief executive contender Stephen Elop back into the fold.