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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