While Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) made major acquisitions of smaller tech companies last quarter, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) outspent them all on the biggest deal in the tech industry by buying back its own shares.

The company snatched up 36 million shares during the period, even though it was scheduled to repurchase 10 million. This means the tech giant made good on the $50 billion buyback program it announced in April.

"The company spent $16 billion last quarter ($4 billion in cash, $12 billion through the so-called accelerated share repurchase program) to purchase 36 million of its own shares at an average price of just over $444," said Philip Elmer-DeWitt with Fortune. With that kind of cash, he said, Apple has the power to completely buy telecom competitors like Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) or BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ:BBRY).

In its filing, Apple said about 22 million of the newly repurchased shares were retired during the quarter, leaving Apple with 908 million shares outstanding. They plan to retire the rest during the current quarter.

This week the company released its quarterly financial earnings, reporting $35.3 billion in revenue, $6.9 billion in net profit and earnings of $7.47 per share.