Need money? Sell your IP address. Microsoft just spent $7.5 million buying some.

IP addresses are running out, and scarcity means one thing: prices go up. How far up? Pretty far, since Microsoft just shelled out $7.5 million to buy a block of 666,624 IPv4 addresses.

These came from the bankruptcy sale of Nortel networks as part of their liquidation. About 80 companies were contacted, an auction was held, more or less, and Microsoft ponied up the biggest pile of money. Normally, companies don't “own” IP addresses, and can't sell them. If unneeded, they go back to the ICAAN (internet Corporation for Assigned Numbers and Names) for reallocation. Nortel may have been granted these addresses before the “no sale” rule went into affect, or the bankruptcy court may have demanded the sale for the sake of Nortel's creditors.

If this type of sale happens more often, the Internet authorities may have to stop this “gray market” activity. And fans of IPv6 are saying “we told you numbers are running out,” right now.


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.

Simon Parry on

I think it is even more ridiculous that Ford Motor Company has At some price, I am sure Ford would be willing to sell, but I am not sure it would be worth the hassle for $150M.

jcampbell1 on

I guess I'm making a more broad statement that IP addresses are rare when, once we migrate to IPV6, they will be free, so we should migrate asap.

wavephorm on

Getting serious

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.

Filippo on

I think strategically it's a wise move. For MS 7.5m is a small sum. In case IPv6 will not be deployed at the speed we all want their investment will pay off tenfold because IPv4 addresses will be gold. They try to hedge the address exhaustion risk.

kia on

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.

Tom 38 on

I'm guessing it's related to their cloud offering. The ability to have a big pool of IP addresses that they can offer to people using their cloud means they don't have to ration them quite as strictly.

Zirro on

So what?

Microsoft probably spends $7.5m on toilet paper too. They're a large company. Is this really that big of a deal?

softbuilder on

This black market has existed for years. It’s nothing new. They’ve been trading them for years

drmike on

Don't worry, you can always go to again. For free.

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