back to article Microsoft spends $7.5m on IP addresses

It’s official, IP addresses are now more expensive than domain names. Nortel Networks, the bankrupt networking hardware vendor, has sold 666,624 IPv4 addresses to Microsoft for $7.5m, according to Delaware bankruptcy court documents (pdf). That’s $11.25 per address, more than you’d expect to pay for a .com domain name. …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wonder why they need them?

    that's a lot of IP addresses. I wonder why MS needs them.

    that said, it probably cost them less than the free soda so I guess shareholders won't mind

    1. Marvin the Martian
      Paris Hilton

      sell internet connected printers?

      I dunno. They licence all kind of hardware, maybe they licence it with an addy?

      1. Someone Else Silver badge
        Big Brother

        re: sell internet connected printers?

        That would be way silly, to sell a printer with a publicly accessible address.


        <tin foil hat type=on>

        Microsoft wants said printer to "phone home" with the print job...or maybe phone to DHS/MI5 with the print job...

        </tin foil hat>

    2. Anonymous Coward

      What might they want all those IPv4 addressen for?

      I'm guessing that the push to get people certified in Azure, and the intended acquisition of a bunch of IPv4 addresses might not be unadjacent.

  2. Conrad Longmore


    What sort of block has 666624 IP addresses?

    1. David Knapman

      Is there the remotest possibility

      That their *entire portfolio* of IP addresses was represented by more than one block?

    2. Dave 64 Silver badge

      RE: What sort of block has 666624 IP addresses?

      errr...a big one?

    3. Jac 1

      It's a class A block

      Nortel owns the entire 47.x.x.x block of IP addresses. That's 16,777,216 addresses (give or take a few that are used for special purposes). 666,624 IP addresses is just a fraction of that.

    4. Daniel B.

      2604 /24s

      according to my calculations, that would be about 2604 class C subnets.

  3. Sam Liddicott

    cosst and risks?

    I guess Microsoft don't fear the costs and risks associated with IPv6 upgrade? Their stuff works right?

    Perhaps they are REALLY trying to impose the costs and risks on users of other operating systems by keeping addresses scarce?

  4. unitron


    As in eleven dollars and twenty-five cents?

    To own it forever?

    Do you have to pay property taxes on them?

    1. Chemist


      if you live in them !

  5. RSW

    Own or rent

    So do MS now own these addresses or are they just renting them like we all rent copies of Windows

    And how come they were sold on and not just passed back into the free pool?

    ICANN should just ask for them back

  6. Anonymous Coward

    IPv6 /64

    I got given a /64 block of IPv6 addresses at an event this week. Apparently that's more than 18 million million million addresses, so who wants them all for just $202 trillion?

    1. IglooDude


      That's the sort of math the music industry is using in order to propose a fine to impose on Limewire!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Using for FUD

    Microsoft will probably put a sniffer watching the block and use them to prove Linux is infringing on it's IP.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    666 thousand

    The IP allocation of the beast?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The IP allocation of the beast"

      Sadly, the 'number of the beast' was proved to actually be 616 on QI.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        668, neighbour of the beast

        Authorities differ (if that's what they are). I believe it's generally assumed amongst scholars that the bible number-of-the-beast is supposed to numerologically correspond to "EMPEROR NERO OF ROME" or something like that, but no one knows who for sure, but actually most likely him, although if so then subsequent events make Revelation look less like inspired prophecy and more like schizophrenic ravings. Funny, that. You know - I haven't knowingly corresponded online recently with any actual lunatics (and I don't go looking for them, except as see below for instance), but when I did from time to time, the people who have glowing shining eyes and are up to something were a recurring theme. Browse through Revelation? Check.

        There are more exciteable views, such as, via Google: "Revelation 13:18 says 'the number of the Beast ... is the number of a man and his number is six hundred threescore and six.' 6+6+6=18, the number of letters in Barack Hussein Obama, who has represented Chicago's 60606 zip code."

        Elsewhere I am told that the "English gematria" calculation, which I haven't tested, produces 666 from "Sarah L. Palin", which does however suggest that she doesn't turn out to be The Whore Of Babylon, anyway. I suspect the information is not offered seriously on this occasion, unless as a rebuttal of those pesky "Obama is the Beast from the Pit/the Sea" claims that just don't go away, birth certificate or not. (Hawaii? Hmm. Volcanic...)

  9. David Kelly 2

    Throwing Good Money Away

    Thats so Microsoft! Throwing a lot of otherwise perfectly good money (or effort) at doing things the way they always have rather than spend just a little to do it right.

    1. Filippo Silver badge

      microsoft bashing

      Microsoft is stuck with IPv4 just like the rest of us. They've supported IPv6 since WinXP, and that's all they can reasonably do. It's not their fault if providers don't switch.

  10. Simon Parry


    Nortel/BNR was allocated the 47.x.x.x Class A address space back in the early days. For the last couple of years they have been looking for how to monetize the asset (long before the bankrupcy), but it only now that v4 addresses are valuble enough for someone to go to the bother of buying them.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Um ...

    "Remember, there’s no intellectual property or traffic associated with these addresses – they’re just routing numbers."

    There's no traffic associated with ... ip addresses?

    I'm pretty sure you're not going to get much traffic without a "routing number" ....

  12. Chris Holt

    @Marvin - for printers

    Fundamental IP understanding fail - IPv4 addresses are routed by BGP and a /24 is the minimum you can route. Also every range needs to be configured (generally) with the ISP and via the likes of RIPE.

    So you can't give away IPv4 addresses you have to set them up properly, way beyond the ability of muggles with printers

    Just being pedantic.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just like all other resources.....

    Supply and demand, when supply is low and demand is high......

    So what if they never use them, they've got money to throw around "just in case". Better to have it and not use it than need it and not have it.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. seacook

    @Conrad Longmore

    666624 would probably represent 10 Class B network ranges and 44 Class C network ranges which were mostly acquired through mergers and acquisitions. I suspect that the addresses sold to Microsoft do not include any of the the entire 47.X.Y.Z Class A range (16,777,216 unique addresses) that @Simon - 47/8 alluded to. Still more monetization to go!!

  16. Turgut Kalfaoglu

    Suckers that buy Microsoft

    No problem, they can just get the amount back from suckers all over the world.

  17. prathlev

    Not sold yet

    Please bear in mind that the transfer has not happened yet.

    "The parties have requested approval of a sale order from the Bankruptcy judge. There is a timeline for making filings and a hearing date. There is not an approved sale order at this time, [...]"

  18. Jeff 11

    $48.3bn? ROFL

    "The total value of the entire IPv4 address space, if the price Microsoft is willing to pay is a good guide, is approximately $48.3bn."

    That's a nonsensically small figure, since web-dependent companies bidding against each other would drive that price much, much higher.

  19. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Jobs Horns


    Whatcha wanna bet that M$ is trying to corner the market on IP4 addy's just to lease them back out to make $$$ every year.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      More sinister

      Microsoft wants to own ALL THE IP ADDRESSES THERE ARE. There won't be an Internet any more, it'll be the Microsoftnet. Only Windows devices are allowed. It's a thought, eh?

  20. Wintermute

    The Silver Lining

    It's just nice to see Nortel being relevant for one, albeit fleeting, moment.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sold 666,624 IPv4 addresses to Microsoft for $7.5m

    Pah! Small change! Wait until the gov buys a couple dozen IP addresses for £10M, followed by a £1M 5 pages report by an "expert" concluding that they got a good deal. I can even forecast the name of the expert report: "Internet Pages (IP): why the price it was good".

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    666,624 adddresses: the real explanation

    I heard a lot of assumptions around here about the origin of this number. Let me assure you that you are all incorrect and that the only real reason is as follow. Microsoft originally requested 666,666 addresses because that's their lucky number, the number which drives all their business decisions. For example, did you know that at some point in time, every single version of Windows sold 666,666 copies?

    However, they had to substitute 42, which I won't bother explaining since it's the solution to everything. I could dig out the exact answer as of why it's 42, but it'll take 7.5M years.

  23. Tom 38

    Legality of this?

    IP addresses aren't owned, they are assigned. ICANN should pull the rug from under MS and Nortel, and reclaim these IP addresses. They aren't an asset of Nortel, they are an asset of ICANN.

    Similar reclamations should happen for all the other large unused blocks that were mis-allocated in the 80s/90s. No university or company needs a class A for gods sake.

    1. Matthew 3

      RE: Legality of this

      In the UK, car registration numbers aren't owned either: they're assigned by the DVLA. But it hasn't stopped a thriving industry for the sale and transfer of them. In fact the DVLA themselves make quite a bit out of selling certain combinations too.

      Perhaps ICANN could introduce a 'use it or lose it' policy for those class A addresses. Who really has 16.7 million publicly accessible devices?

  24. Wombat

    I have a few for sale ...

    ... they all start with 192.168.

    I've been hanging on to them, waiting for the price to rise.

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