updated 2/11/2005 2:46:24 PM ET 2005-02-11T19:46:24

Apple Computer, whose shares have almost quadrupled in value over the last year thanks to the success of its iPod music player, announced a two-for-one stock split Friday that increases the computer marker’s authorized share count to 1.8 billion from 900 million.

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The Cupertino-based high-tech firm said each of its shares held on Feb. 18 will get an additional share. The company plans to start trading on a split-adjusted basis at the end of February. The company had 419.1 million in average weighted shares outstanding for the first quarter ended Dec. 25.

Last month, Apple reported its first-quarter earnings grew to 70 cents per share from 17 cents a share in the prior year, helped by brisk sales of its iPod digital music player. It sold more than 4.5 million iPods during the quarter. The company also launched lower-priced versions of its Mac computer and iPod products.

Apple’s stock price reached a 52-week high of $81.99 on Wednesday, the day Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. said it had held talks with Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs about adding satellite-radio service to iPods.

On Thursday, Sirius’ competitor, XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., said it had a similar talk with Jobs. Executives at both Sirius and XM said Apple doesn’t see a need to add the radio service at this time.

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