Microsoft paid $11 for each IPv4 address, from a bankrupt Nortel
Nortel, in the throes of bankruptcy, sold part of their class A IP assignment to Microsoft for $7.5 million. When I last investigated (in the early 1990s), Class A (16,777,216 addresses), B (65,536 addresses), and C (256 addresses) address spaces were available gratis. The tough part was proving that you had a need. Large corporations had little difficulty acquiring Class B and C address spaces then.
Now, we’re running out of unallocated IPv4 addresses (read It’s time to prepare for IPv6). I’m not sure what Microsoft intends to do with this large block of ip addresses — maybe place more servers in “the cloud”.
Nortel, under its earlier name, Northern Electric, was a major manufacturer in the telephone equipment market. Headquartered in Canada, they manufactured everything from desksets to complete telephone exchanges, where their crossbar and later DMS100 switches were strong competitors to Western Electric’s telephone exchange switches. The newer Nortel data switches and routers were also well-respected. I’m not sure what finally toppled Nortel.