Microsoft buys $7.5m worth of IPv4 addresses

In an incredible act of desperation, Microsoft announced today its intention to spend $7.5 million on IPv4 addresses from Nortel. The telecom company has begun selling off its assets, including 666,624 IPv4 addresses to Microsoft, after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2009. Objections can still be filed against the deal, and the purchase is expected to be finalised on April 4th.

Microsoft was a part of 80 firms all interested in the address collection, according to a Delaware bankruptcy court, and papers revealed Microsoft to be the highest bidder in the group. According to the BBC, the deal will see Microsoft leave with 470,016 addresses, with the remaining 196,608 locked up until Nortel's former customers have moved on to other telecom firms.

Each address in the deal is worth a staggering $11.25, showing that Microsoft has begun to feel the heat after the remaining free IPv4 addresses ran out at the start of February. At the time, the repercussions were unclear, but today's deal may mark the beginning of how IPv4 addresses will be treated for the next few years: as an expensive commodity.

As the amount of IPv4 addresses on sale dries up, it's highly likely that deals such as these will become commonplace. The cost attached to upgrading to IPv6 has meant a slow adoption from businesses, and the unreliability of transition technologies such as 6to4 has further discouraged IPv6 adoption.

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It makes all the sense in the world to buy up as many IP blocks as possible. Eventually, the vast majority of the world will be using IPv6 by default, and the remaining companies that have reserved space in the IPv4 realm will be able to experiment with their "obsolete" ranges, create their own networks, etc.

Since when can IP addresses be sold between LIRs?
As far as I know the RIR (Regional Internet Registry, ex: RIPE NCC) assigns addresses (which it obtains from the AINA) to a LIR which can use them (configure routing over the internet and make them reachable). The addresses itself stay under the ownership of the RIR. (And in theory, can be revoked.)
So unless Nortel has old ipv4 addresses directly assigned by the IANA (might be aquired through mergers etc), I hope MS didn't buy an empty bubble that is about to burst...

bsquirle said,
Since when can IP addresses be sold between LIRs?
As far as I know the RIR (Regional Internet Registry, ex: RIPE NCC) assigns addresses (which it obtains from the AINA) to a LIR which can use them (configure routing over the internet and make them reachable). The addresses itself stay under the ownership of the RIR. (And in theory, can be revoked.)
So unless Nortel has old ipv4 addresses directly assigned by the IANA (might be aquired through mergers etc), I hope MS didn't buy an empty bubble that is about to burst...

i'm fairly sure youre right... but then again, obviously we dont know the details of the deal. the RIR might be a middleman.

bsquirle said,
Since when can IP addresses be sold between LIRs?
As far as I know the RIR (Regional Internet Registry, ex: RIPE NCC) assigns addresses (which it obtains from the AINA) to a LIR which can use them (configure routing over the internet and make them reachable). The addresses itself stay under the ownership of the RIR. (And in theory, can be revoked.)
So unless Nortel has old ipv4 addresses directly assigned by the IANA (might be aquired through mergers etc), I hope MS didn't buy an empty bubble that is about to burst...

Large companies were given large amounts of IP spaces, in the beginning stages of the internet, before all these organizations existed. I guess they are free to do what they want with them.

In an act of desperation, commenters make their point with personal attacks, sweeping criticism and vast generalizations trying to discredit the writer's ability instead of forming a cohesive argument.

Tzvi Friedman said,
In an act of desperation, commenters make their point with personal attacks, sweeping criticism and vast generalizations trying to discredit the writer's ability instead of forming a cohesive argument.

I don't agree with that statement but the article otherwise was good. We just don't want this to turn into Betanews *shiver*

Er, just a thought: the desperation is about the issue of running out of IPv4 addresses - thus there is a bit of an issue about getting new ones. Thus, some desperation to get more.

That's not insulting to anyone.

I understand where the confusion comes from with the whole "act of desperation" but, damn, guys stop attacking your journalists! Seriously how disrespectful can you guys be?! If you gave a second thought and didn't jump to accusing them of lousy writing, then you may have seen that what he probably meant was that NORTEL was the desperate one.

Xenosion said,
stop attacking your journalists! Seriously how disrespectful can you guys be?! If you gave a second thought and didn't jump to accusing them of lousy writing, then you may have seen that what he probably meant was that NORTEL was the desperate one.

I can't have much respect for a journalist (ie, someone who writes for a living) who can't write for ****.

Journalists are complaining that standards are dropping. This doesn't help.

_dandy_ said,

I can't have much respect for a journalist (ie, someone who writes for a living) who can't write for ****.

Journalists are complaining that standards are dropping. This doesn't help.

Can't write for ****? What are you talking about? I thought the article was just fine.

warwagon said,

Can't write for ****? What are you talking about? I thought the article was just fine.

If, as Xenosion points out, the author meant that *Nortel* selling its IP addresses is an act of desperation, rather than Microsoft *buying* IP addresses being an act of desperate, than yes, it *would* be fine.

So I ask the author, which is it? Because one is the *exact opposite* of the other. You're okay with that? I suppose if names, numbers, facts, attributions, etc were unimportant, then yeah, I could see how the article is "just fine" as it is.

I feel I should add a couple of points about IPv4 and IPv6 and Microsoft's participation.

IPv6 would not be where it is today without Microsoft and their work in shoving the industry and contributing to the specification.

Microsoft is behind a lot of the tunneling technologies for IPv6 adoption over IPv4, with emphasis on using secure mechansims, like with Teredo.

Microsoft has been a major force in maturing IPv6, by adding to the specification, especially with regard to security.

Microsoft also started very early on in helping mainstreaming and creating alternative methods of extending the IPv4 lifecycle with technologies to remove the need for public IP allocation.

This includes the inclusion of NAT technologies (ICS) in Windows server and home versions in the mids 90s in addtion to their work with UDP and UPnP technologies.

Microsoft even gave away their patented technologies involving NAT, UDP, and Tunneling with specific restrictions that requires these technologies to remain free forever.

With regard to IPv4 depletion, going back to Microsoft networking technologies, they tried to get the world to look at alternatives to IPv4, and this is why they shoved for things like WINS and other technologies that if adopted as the Internet standard would have avoid the IPv4 nightmare and we would of already had a 128bit GUID based specification nearly 20 years ago.

Microsoft was trying to prevent the looming IPv4 depletion long before the commercially accessible Internet even existed.

Which is what makes the 'editorial' comment at the begining of this argument scream ignorance with a personal anti-Microsoft bias.

thenetavenger said,

Which is what makes the 'editorial' comment at the begining of this argument scream ignorance with a personal anti-Microsoft bias.

There's been a HUGE increase of that kind of behaviour on Neowin over the past few months. Quite frankly it's disgusting and insulting.

"An incredible act of desperation" lol....now if MS decided to push IE9 out via WU all at once to gain browser dominance this might be described as "an incredible act of desperation" but buying up some IP addresses..I think not

RealFduch said,
In an incredible act of desperation Neowin writers are pushing more and more biased and sensationalist titles.

How is "Microsoft buys $7.5m worth of IPv4 addresses" sensationalist?

The Angry Bunny said,

How is "Microsoft buys $7.5m worth of IPv4 addresses" sensationalist?

The title isn't, but the first line of the article is...
"In an incredible act of desperation..."

After reading that article i'm failing to find the part which makes it an "In an incredible act of desperation"... They bought some IP addresses, oh noes.

I mean seriously...

"In an incredible act of desperation"

With an opening like that, this should really be listed as an Editorial. The rest of the article is interesting, though. The age-old story of supply and demand, basically.

COKid said,
"In an incredible act of desperation"

With an opening like that, this should really be listed as an Editorial. The rest of the article is interesting, though. The age-old story of supply and demand, basically.


Pretty sure he meant desperation on Nortel's part

Xenosion said,

Pretty sure he meant desperation on Nortel's part

The article is very poorly worded. It does sound like he's accusing Microsoft of being "desperate".

After reading through it again....maybe he is accusing MS. If that's the case, this article is garbage.

Xenosion said,

Pretty sure he meant desperation on Nortel's part

"In an incredible act of desperation, Microsoft announced today its intention to spend $7.5 million on IPv4 addresses from Nortel."

If that's what he meant, Nortel should follow "In an incredible act of desperation", not Microsoft.

In an incredible act of desperation

Really? You have some divine knowledge of their intent and motives?

Did you ever stop to think about the profit motive of most of the other companies trying to obtain them? Is it possible Microsoft doesn't want the addresses to become an expensive commodity?

Microsoft to date hasn't leveraged IP addresses or IP address sales, so I am not sure why you see this as some form of desperation, or what even makes them desperate.

thenetavenger said,

Really? You have some divine knowledge of their intent and motives?

Did you ever stop to think about the profit motive of most of the other companies trying to obtain them? Is it possible Microsoft doesn't want the addresses to become an expensive commodity?

Microsoft to date hasn't leveraged IP addresses or IP address sales, so I am not sure why you see this as some form of desperation, or what even makes them desperate.


Pretty sure he meant desperation on Nortel's part

mocax said,
if i move to ipv6, what websites can i visit?
which games can i play?

Every single one you can visit/play now. Thanks for your question.

RealFduch said,

LOL WUT?

It's not like its really going to affect end users anyway. No one needs to go update/replace their home routers with ipv6 kit. Nothing much is gonna change at end user level - as mocax was suggesting he/she was.

Sad to see Nortel the way it is now, it was a great Canadian company. I know it's unrelated somewhat, but I wanted to say it.

nX07 said,
Sad to see Nortel the way it is now, it was a great Canadian company. I know it's unrelated somewhat, but I wanted to say it.

Yeah going to miss Nortel, their phone systems were good in the day. Even if they were sometimes a pig to work with I will still miss seeing them around, although I guess they might be just under a different name

Teebor said,

Yeah going to miss Nortel, their phone systems were good in the day. Even if they were sometimes a pig to work with I will still miss seeing them around, although I guess they might be just under a different name

+1

Teebor said,

Yeah going to miss Nortel, their phone systems were good in the day. Even if they were sometimes a pig to work with I will still miss seeing them around, although I guess they might be just under a different name

Avaya...... we have a nortel system, and the transition path for them is to Avaya products, at least thats what our nortel techs have told us... they are already pushing the transition path on us, and want us to move as "soon as possible"... but phone systems are EXPENSIVE! and complex to just upgrade and move around.....

nX07 said,
Sad to see Nortel the way it is now, it was a great Canadian company. I know it's unrelated somewhat, but I wanted to say it.

Well just like russia canada must fall too.

nX07 said,
Sad to see Nortel the way it is now, it was a great Canadian company. I know it's unrelated somewhat, but I wanted to say it.

*sigh* I was once a shareholder. I remember being in school back in '98-'99, and looking longingly at Nortel's recruitment website, thinking they had to be one of the coolest tech companies in the world, certainly in Canada...

The thought of them selling off their IP ADDRESSES is just depressing...

cork1958 said,
What?!
Did MS forget what century we're in and that IPv6 is somewhere in the near future!

What do you think is easier to memorize an IPv6 or an IPv4 address for certain technology.

Considering IPv6 and IPv4 are identical when it comes down to a performances comparison. The only reason why its the "near future" is due to us running out of addresses on IPv4.

cork1958 said,
What?!
Did MS forget what century we're in and that IPv6 is somewhere in the near future!

I doubt it... Microsoft has been shoving IPv6 for a long time, adding to the specification, and supporting it when it was rather immature with regard to security and other issues addressed over the last 15 years.

thenetavenger said,

I doubt it... Microsoft has been shoving IPv6 for a long time, adding to the specification, and supporting it when it was rather immature with regard to security and other issues addressed over the last 15 years.

Agree, I'm wondering if they bought them just so other companys can't have them and will be forced to use IPv6.

Morphine-X said,

What do you think is easier to memorize an IPv6 or an IPv4 address for certain technology.


because fe80::1 is harder to remember then 192.168.0.1 ?
or do you mean 2001:db80:dead:beef is harder to remember then 216.239.32.10 ?

I'm going to assume some of the little hex names you can generate will be used for the IPv6 addresses you need to remember, so you'll generally have , c0ff:ee dead:beef combinations etc, personally i think that'll be much easier to remember then IPv4 addresses.

Morphine-X said,

Considering IPv6 and IPv4 are identical when it comes down to a performances comparison. The only reason why its the "near future" is due to us running out of addresses on IPv4.

IPv4 is quite bad, per cycle on a router you waste quite a lot of processing time, even more so on a 64bit system. Not only that, but the header of a IPv4 packet is very limited and that has to be padded. IPv6 performs much better already, and will perform even better as there is more network for it to route.

http://www.juniper.net/techpub...vol1/html/ipv6-config4.html

sagum said,

because fe80::1 is harder to remember then 192.168.0.1 ?
or do you mean 2001:db80:dead:beef is harder to remember then 216.239.32.10 ?

I'm going to assume some of the little hex names you can generate will be used for the IPv6 addresses you need to remember, so you'll generally have , c0ff:ee dead:beef combinations etc, personally i think that'll be much easier to remember then IPv4 addresses.

IPv4 is quite bad, per cycle on a router you waste quite a lot of processing time, even more so on a 64bit system. Not only that, but the header of a IPv4 packet is very limited and that has to be padded. IPv6 performs much better already, and will perform even better as there is more network for it to route.

http://www.juniper.net/techpub...vol1/html/ipv6-config4.html

the amount of unique easy to remember english words you can make is not that big

Morphine-X said,

What do you think is easier to memorize an IPv6 or an IPv4 address for certain technology.

Considering IPv6 and IPv4 are identical when it comes down to a performances comparison. The only reason why its the "near future" is due to us running out of addresses on IPv4.

Considering that Ipv6 is going to be represented in hex. I would say its easier to remember ipv6. But on the other hand. Why would you even need to. Isn't that the job of you name server?

XerXis said,

the amount of unique easy to remember english words you can make is not that big

while that is true that you can only make so many hex based words into an address, the point was you'd beable to remember more using a few key words then you would if you had to remember a lot of random ip addresses.

If you really want words, and lots of them, you have to also remember that IPv6 provides delegation of reverse dns, so really the only IPv6 addresses you need to remember are your name servers - that I'd name ::dead:beef etc or ::1 and ::2 ofc if I were to run my own.

enocheed said,

Considering that Ipv6 is going to be represented in hex. I would say its easier to remember ipv6. But on the other hand. Why would you even need to. Isn't that the job of you name server?

"going to be?" it IS represented and has been for over a decade.

in the near future we will need to rely almost completely on name servers. i cant even remember the IPv4 addresses of our 20 servers at my company. there's no way anyone's going to remember an IPv6 address. even w/ hex-word tricks, it's not going to happen.

the biggest problem today is that people are so used to IPv4 and its philosophy. we need to ditch that and move into the IPv6 philosophy.