NORAD’s Santa tracking effort now uses Azure and Bing technology.

Over at Windows 8 Update, we recently discussed how NORAD’s Santa Tracker was getting an official Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 app. While this might not seem like that major of news, it does see an important shift between NORAD and Google’s relationship.

Up until now, NORAD relied on Google as a partner for their Santa tracking, and Google Maps in particular. This relationship had started in 2007, and now five years later they are moving into Microsoft’s camp instead.

Not only will Bing Maps power the effort, but the “tracking” of Santa’s yearly journey will be done on a system built on the Windows Azure cloud computing platform.

Here is the statement directly from NORAD about the change:

Google supported NTS [NORAD Tracks Santa] from 2007-2011 and helped increase NTS program awareness across the globe; NORAD is grateful for the partnership and the resulting success.
This year, NTS and Google mutually agreed to go in new directions, and we are excited to welcome a number of new contributors, to include Microsoft, Windows Azure, Bing, and iLink-systems, among others, to help us in our mission of tracking Santa. The ability to work with a diverse team of contributors is fundamental to the NTS mission, and we appreciate all of the continued support of all contributors.

So was it Microsoft’s deep pockets during their Windows advertising campaign that won NORAD over, or simply the power of Bing and Azure? It’s hard to say for sure, but the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle.

What do you think of NORAD’s switch to Windows Azure and Bing technology?

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