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Looks like Google was being a little naughty this year.

The NORAD Santa Tracker has followed Santa Claus on his annual journey around the world for the past 50 years. Google helped with the tracking via Google Maps and Google Earth every Christmas Eve since 2007, but this holiday season Saint Nick will be tracked on Bing Maps.

It’s part of a NORAD’s new partnership with Microsoft. This year’s tracker will be powered by the Windows Azure cloud computing platform. There’s also an official Windows 8 app and Windows Phone app. Microsoft, Azure and Bing are listed prominently on the corporate sponsor page.

NORAD told that the split with Google was a mutual decision.

This is a score for Microsoft, as nearly 25 million people are expected to follow Santa this year. Last Christmas, the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center in Colorado Springs received more than 102,000 calls, 7,721 e-mails and reached nearly 20 million people in more than 220 countries around the world.

I definitely used this when I was younger. NORAD’s tracker was the primary reason for me believing in Santa until I was … well, I’ll keep that to myself.

Previously on GeekWire: Microsoft’s ‘Don’t get Scroogled’ campaign warns users about Google shopping ads

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