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Math Google Patents The Almighty Buck News

Google Bid Pi Billion Dollars For Nortel Patents 213

mikejuk writes "Google mystified other participants in an auction for patents last week by their choice of bids. They weren't the round regular numbers that are normally expected. After first bidding $1,902,160,540 — a reference to Brun's constant — and later bidding $2,614,972,128 for the Meissel-Mertens constant, they ended up submitting a bid for $3.14159 billion. Google ended up losing the auction — but was that a deliberate ploy?"
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Google Bid Pi Billion Dollars For Nortel Patents

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  • by Compaqt ( 1758360 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @10:55AM (#36641438) Homepage

    Google's CFO's glad they didn't take the next step after pi: tau [] (6.28...)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 02, 2011 @11:02AM (#36641486)

    If you're willing to bid $3 billion for something, the last thing you want is for someone to bid $3 000 000 001.00, and beat you in the bid. So it is quite routine for bids on large contracts with a closed bidding process to use unusual numbers rather than round numbers. I've seen this in multi-tens or hundreds of million-dollar land acreage bids for the rights to drill for oil. They'll bid $30 545 777.88, and weird things like that. Usually the "extra bit" is a small percentage of the total bid amount, but if you're going to do that, why not have some fun with it? And if you're "mystifying" the other participants, good! That's the whole point -- to keep them guessing and prevent them from figuring out your strategy so they can't bid $1 more.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @12:38PM (#36642024)

    I'm pretty sure it wasn't the math gods they were trying to provoke.

    Instead it looks as if they were in a non-serious bidding game to make the others over pay for what are probably soon obsolete patents anyway.

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