Talk about the odd couple! Since 1955, NORAD -- the U.S. and Canadian military organization -- has helped Santa’s believers track his every move come Christmas Eve. It's one of those longstanding Christmas traditions, like caroling and leaving cookies out for Santa.
The aerospace defense command post first began tracking Kris Kringle’s whereabouts over the telephone, helping children to know when they could expect their Christmas bounty. Since 2007, one of Silicon Valley’s finest has helped power NORAD’s systems to track Mr. Claus with the help of its advanced technologies: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Maps, a dedicated YouTube channel and apps that track Santa around the globe.
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But Santa has a new tech elf this holiday. Microsoft.
In a statement to FOX Business, NORAD wrote “This year, NORAD Tracks Santa and Google mutually agreed to go in new directions, and we are excited to welcome a number of new contributors, to include Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Windows Azure, Bing, and iLink-systems, among others, to help us in our mission of tracking Santa.”
No money changes hands -- the companies keep tabs on Santa's whereabouts for free.
Mapping software has made front-page headlines recently after Apple recently pulled Google Maps off as the default program on some of its devices replacing it with its own Apple Maps program. But users literally got lost using it – there were reports of Apple Map users getting stranded in the Australian Outback and mislabeled landmarks. In a rare move, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook apologized for the errors.
So while Google is put on the naughty list, Microsoft is upgraded to the nice one. The company is making major product pushes this year with the release of Windows 8, and spending big marketing bucks to build brand awareness and loyalty with a new demographic.
Perhaps getting in good with the younger crowd -- and with Santa -- could help deliver Microsoft the Christmas miracle it also desperately needs.