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.