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Google bids pi for Nortel's wireless patent stash, brings comedy to places you never thought possible

Darren Murph
July 2, 2011
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Enabling surfers to play Pac-Man instead of actually initiating the search they showed up to complete? Taking a stroll through an episode of Burn Notice? Throwing internet on a magical Indian bus? All relatively normal things from one Google, Inc., but it seems that Larry Page's deadpan demeanor is actually covering up quite the character. During the outfit's recent attempt to outbid the likes of Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, RIM and Sony for a sliver of Nortel's coveted wireless patent portfolio, Reuters is reporting that Google's plays were... less than conventional. Reportedly, the company bid $1,902,160,540 and $2,614,972,128, better known by mathematicians as Brun's constant and Meissel-Mertens constant, respectively. Funnier still, Google decided to offer $3.14159 billion (you know, pi) when the bidding reached $3 billion. One of the unnamed sources summed up the bizarreness quite well:

"Google was bidding with numbers that were not even numbers. 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 $3 billion, they bid pi. Either they were supremely confident or they were bored."

Or, perhaps they're just supremely awesome?


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