In the battle for Christmas, Microsoft has scored a win over Google as the official maps partner for Santa and his reindeer.
announced this week it had sealed a partnership with the Pentagon's
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which monitors the
skies over Canada and the United States, for the holiday season.
more than 50 years, NORAD has helped children around the world track
Santa during his Christmas journey, and this year Microsoft is
partnering with NORAD to make following the big red sleigh easier than
ever," Microsoft said in a blog.
"The Santa Tracker tool is built
on the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud computing platform and Bing Maps,
and anxious kids can even track Kris Kringle on Windows Phone and
Windows 8 apps."
The news marked a coup for Microsoft, whose Bing
search engine is struggling to catch the Google juggernaut. Google had
been the NORAD tracking partner since 2007.
"It's a pretty big win
for Microsoft and should give its products greater exposure, though I'm
kind of sad that NORAD Tracks Santa is now developing into a service
that corporations are clearly fighting over to sponsor," said Danny
Sullivan of Search Engine Land, a blog which follows the firms.
"But I love the service, and if it helps support it, cool."
Santa tracking tradition dates back to 1955, when a Colorado newspaper
advertisement printed a phone number to connect children with the jolly
man in the red suit, but that mistakenly directed them to NORAD's
To avoid disappointing the little ones, NORAD's director
of operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, ordered his staff to
check the radar to see where Santa might be and update the children on
Google is not completely shut out for Christmas,
however. It has an Android app on its Google Play store which allows
mobile users to follow Santa.