SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT - news), the world's No. 1 software maker, said on Tuesday it plans to return more than $75 billion in cash to shareholders over the next four years in the largest corporate payout ever.

Shares in the Redmond, Washington-based company rose 5 percent in after-hours trade following Microsoft's announcement that it planned to buy its own stock, double its dividend and issue a special one-time dividend.

Microsoft, which generates about $1 billion in cash per month, said it would still have sufficient funding for research and to make acquisitions.

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