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Apple's massive share buyback program was in full swing in the June quarter, when the company spent $16 billion on itself âÂ enough to buy rival BlackBerry three times over.
The original schedule called for Apple to repurchase 10 million shares in its third fiscal quarter of 2013, Philip Elmer-Dewitt of Fortune 2.0 noted on Thursday. But with shares of Apple trading well below where they were a year prior, Apple instead apparently decided to push hard and buy 36 million shares.
Of the $16 billion Apple spent, $12 billion came out of the company's accelerated share repurchase program, and the remaining $4 billion were shares bought on the open market. The average price paid was $444.44.
That average share price was nearly $200 off from the company's high of $636.23 seen a year prior, during the June quarter of 2012. Apple's all-time high came last September, when iPhone 5 hype pushed shares to $702.10.
The amount spent by Apple on its own stock in one quarter exceeded the $12.5 billion Google paid to acquire Motorola Mobility. It also topped the market values of handset makers Nokia ($14.89 billion) and BlackBerry ($4.64 billion), panel manufacturers LG Display ($8.93 billion) and Sharp Corp. ($5.07 billion), as well as content providers Netflix ($13.55 billion) and Barnes & Noble ($1.06 billion).
Apple announced its massive $100 billion capital return program, the largest of its kind in history, in April. The plan runs through 2015 and includes $60 billion in authorized share repurchases, as well as an increase of Apple's quarterly dividend by 15 percent.
By spending $16 billion in the June quarter, Apple still has some $44 billion left to invest in itself over the next two and a half years.