PBS | I, Cringely . Archived Column: "There are three key components to this contract. First, the NHS gets a lot more for its money, paying about $500 million less to Microsoft than the previous contract and getting more than 50 percent more licenses at that. Second, Microsoft has committed to spend $75 million of its own money to build for the NHS a custom healthcare interface that will bring uniformity and greater usability to all desktop and handheld applications. Third, the contract is subject to review three times over its nine-year term, and the work may be expanded or contracted as part of those reviews.
So Microsoft really has about a $575 million bet that they can make themselves indispensable to the NHS, eventually push out whatever big integrator wins and screws-up the overall contract (if one is ever awarded), and then can replicate this success through healthcare industries around the globe. It's a $575 million investment in what they hope will become a $50 to 100 billion business."
I disagree with the speculation about the need for WinFS in this context, but otherwise it's another timely set of insights.