NSW Health has announced a three-year deal to standardize all desktops, servers and core infrastructure within local and state health outlets on Microsoft gear.The deal, worth A$36 million (US$26.4 million), includes a possible three-year contract extension.While the desktops (about 40,000) will be standardized on Windows XP, there are no requirements to upgrade to Windows Vista when it\u2019s released. The main development platform will be .Net.Frank Cordingley, NSW Health technology general manager, said Microsoft already had a lot of the business within NSW Health and that this deal "tidies it up."Cordingley said the intention is not to push out Novell, which is widely used within NSW Health, but to consolidate the Microsoft environment to better manage business."In terms of PC operating systems and usage of Office, Microsoft has historically had the lion\u2019s share of the business, and the whole purpose of the deal was to cement a relationship with a key supplier and standardize on the latest versions of products," Cordingley said."What we are keen to get across the state is the Active Directory system so area health services in NSW can talk to each other. The Vista upgrade is not something we signed up for, but what is on the list are Office and XP, as well as various server applications."There was no tendering process; Microsoft is already a supplier under government contracts throughout NSW Health. Microsoft saw us as a key customer, and NSW Health is a big animal and we were in a good bargaining position, but this deal tidies up all our contracts."NSW Health uses about 2,500 servers, which will be standardized on Exchange. Implementation has already begun. Should the contract be extended an additional three years, it will be worth A$72 million, the largest contract signed in Australia by Microsoft.-Michael Crawford, Computerworld AustraliaThis article is posted on our Microsoft Informer page.\u00a0For more news on the Redmond, Wash.-based powerhouse, keep checking in.Also, have a listen to CIO Publisher Gary Beach\u2019s podcast on Microsoft\u2019s upcoming operating system, Vista, as well as the topic of open source.Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.