As reported in domain incite, Microsoft paid $7.5 million for control of the 700,000 IP addresses that had been assigned to Nortel.

I remember that there was a time when Nortel Networks was responsible for an entire class-A IP address space. As the company’s Internet Evangelist from 1995-1997, I used this fact in my regular presentations, talks and writings at the time about how the Internet was going to change the industry and society.

Despite the ignomy of being bankrupt and then sold for parts, the pride of Canadian information technology research was one of only a few enterprises with hefty research units that received a class-A address (IBM and AT&T at the time were two others) when the Internet address space was being designed in the 1980s and early 1990s. As far as I can tell, class A refers to the addresses that start with one of the 255 possible numbers in the first block of the 4-part IPv4 address: You can learn more about IP v4 addressing here.

This sale was the first recorded sale of IP addresses since the IANA gave out the last IP v4 address block earlier this year. The Internet service provider industry has no choice left, but to begin the process of migrating to IP v4 which offers a significantly greater address space, with built in security and roaming capabilities. IP v6 has been on the books for the better part of a decade and was informally called IPng (IP – next generation) in honor of the cast of the Star Trek Next Generation TV show. This seems so outdated now.