A PCPro blog post “Microsoft pays $7.5m for IPv4 address stash” quotes a blog post by Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) Professor Milton Mueller about the effect of Microsoft’s recent purchase of IPv4 addresses will have on pricing.

Recently, Microsoft bought more than 600 thousand IPv4 addresses for $7.5 million during a fire sale from the bankrupt company Nortel. Mueller predicted on the Internet Governance Project blog that the price of IPv4 addresses would rise following Microsoft’s purchase.

Currently many web sites run on IPv4, the original network-layer protocol for the Internet. Ten years ago, the Internet Engineering Task Force determined that IPv4 was out of date and introduced IPv6. Though the standards for IPv6 were finalized in 1996, changing the protocols on which many web sites and networks operate takes time. There are standards for running both IPv4 and IPv6, but some businesses are still not ready to completely transition to IPv6 and instead use a process called “dual stack” where both IPv4 and IPv6 are used.

“Nortel… has succeeded in making its legacy IPv4 address block an asset that can be sold to generate money for its creditors,” Mueller was quoted as writing. “The interesting question becomes, does the price of IPv4s go up or down? As the realities of dual stack sink in, I’m betting it’s up.”

Mueller is Professor at Syracuse University School of Information Studies, where he teaches courses on information and communication policy and telecommunication management. His research focuses on property rights, institutions and global governance in communication and information industries. His earlier book Ruling the Root: Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace (MIT
Press, 2002) was the first book-length analysis of the political and economic forces leading to the creation of ICANN. Currently, he is doing research on the legal and regulatory responsibilities of Internet service providers, Internet Protocol addressing policy, the policy implications of Deep Packet Inspection technology and the security governance practices of network operators.

Mueller was one of the founders of the Internet Governance Project, an alliance of scholars in action around global Internet policy issues. (http://blog.internetgovernance.org) As co-founder of the Noncommercial Users Constituency he has played a leading role in organizing and mobilizing public interest groups in ICANN. Mueller is on the Advisory Council of Public Interest Registry (.org).