03 Jul '11, 6am

Google's bids for Nortel patents included pi and other mathematical constants, but they lose auction to Apple and allies

NEW YORK - At the auction for Nortel Networks' wireless patents this week, Google's bids were mystifying, such as US$1,902,160,540 and US$2,614,972,128 (S$2,333,380,334 and S$3,207,786,309 respectively). Math whizzes might recognize these numbers as Brun's constant and Meissel-Mertens constant, but it puzzled many of the people involved in the auction, according to three people with direct knowledge of the situation on Friday. "Google was bidding with numbers that were not even numbers," one of the sources said. "It became clear that they were bidding with the distance between the earth and the sun. One was the sum of a famous mathematical constant, and then when it got to US$3 billion (S$3.68 billion), they bid pi," the source said, adding the bid was US$3.14159 billion (S$3.85378 billion). "Either they were supremely confident or they were bored." It was not clear what s...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/Business/EDC110703-0000495/Goo...

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