On October 1st, Google Docs users won’t be able to download or upload documents, spreadsheets, or slideshows in Office 1997-2007 format. Although Microsoft has long since left these file formats behind, replacing them with .docx, .pptx, and .xlsx, Google provides Google apps for Business, Education and Government, which may still very well use the antiquated formats institutionally. A consumer version of Google Apps has supported Microsoft’s new formats, so institutional customers can expect to see the ability to export into the x-appended formats. It’s simply a rather quick turnaround for some users who relied on the exporting ability: they’ve only got a week to adapt. In many ways, this “feature” change illuminates the differences between Microsoft and Google: Microsoft is hyperaware of backwards compatibility, and Google thinks old technology and formats get in the way of progress.
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