The NHS has deepened its involvement with Microsoft by renewing the enterprise agreement signed with the company in 2004 and agreeing new e-mail software.
The new agreement focuses on infrastructure and desktops, with NHS organisations getting access to the new operating system, Vista , anti-virus technologies and new mobile and collaborative software.
The deal also extends Microsoft's commitment to the common user interface programme, which supports IT deployment and is looking to create a more consistent 'look and feel' for NHS applications, IT training and other areas.
Connecting for Health director of infrastructure Mark Ferrar said the new deal would ensure 'we continue delivering benefits to staff and patients'.
The original agreement had an unconfirmed value of£500m and made the NHS one of Microsoft's biggest customers. Microsoft UK head of healthcare John Coulthard said the deal would save money on licences but the real benefits would come through better infrastructure and ways of working.
Cable & Wireless has also been in charge of the NHS e-mail system, NHSmail, since 2004. It says it decided to review the system in December, as a result of which it will move to Microsoft e-mail programmes.
Martin Goodman, managing director for public sector and systems integrators at Cable & Wireless Europe, Asia and US said: 'We worked in partnership with CfH on a feasibility study to establish the most appropriate solution. Exchange 2007 offers the best option for an enhanced user experience.'