This is the sixth in a short series of articles that Techworld has published over recent days about multi-core processing and its ramifications. Read the first article here.

It pays to be big. That's one advantage for United Parcel Service when dealing with software vendors.

"When we are looking at new technologies, we don't get hung up on licensing aspects," says John Nallin, vice president of information services at the Atlanta-based delivery company.

The first question is whether a technology realistically provides a benefit to UPS, says Nallin, whose IT department has an advanced technology group that investigates new products as early as two years before their release. UPS is now evaluating dual-core chips from Intel and AMD.

Nallin says reaching a deal with software vendors regarding use of dual-core is a matter of negotiation. "I don't remember going to a vendor who was promoting a new product and having the vendor tell me that they are not going to adjust whatever the obstacle is to make both of us successful," he says.

Tacoma, Wash.-based Auto Warehousing Co., North America's largest automobile processing company, isn't small either, but CIO Dale N. Frantz says his neighbor, Microsoft Corp., can be a tough customer on licensing issues.

Frantz says he's considering adding Microsoft's BizTalk Server on a four-way server. But the vendor wants $40,000 per processor, or $160,000 total, he says, and "that's a problem." Frantz will put off installation of BizTalk and see if Microsoft changes its licensing approach.

Frantz says the problem with licensing reaches well beyond Microsoft. "I think the software industry is going to have to adapt to these new technologies," he says. "They just can't continue to stack up the cost."