Microsoft announced an increase in dividends late yesterday:
Microsoft Corp. today announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.36 per share, reflecting a five cent increase, or 16.1 percent, over the previous quarter’s dividend. The dividend is payable December 10, 2015 to shareholders of record on November 19, 2015. The ex-dividend date will be November 17, 2015.
Basically, the increase should make buying and holding Microsoft stock more attractive in the face of market volatility. The larger the dividend, the more value the stock provides even if its price on the stock market is stagnant or goes down.
Of course, spending more on dividend payouts leaves less money for investing in the business, and so there's an obvious tradeoff. However, Microsoft is engaging in some aggressive strategies since CEO Satya Nadella took over the reins, and increasing dividend payouts is a good way to help smooth the transition.