Differentiating Yourself - GoogleDocs Drops Support for DOC, XLS, PPT Formats

Update: Conversation continues on Google+

Don't you love vendors who make decisions about what's right for you without so much as a by your leave? Of course not. But then, when the service is available at no cost, do you have a right to complain?

In a move that I consider shocking from a K-12 education perspective, Google has decided to drop support for old MS Office formats, as this blog entry highlights:
On October 1st, Google Docs users won’t be able to download or upload documents, spreadsheets, or slideshows in Office 1997-2007 format...It’s simply a rather quick turnaround for some users who relied on the exporting ability: they’ve only got a week to adapt.
The resounding howl of anguish will soon find its way among educators who have embraced GoogleApps. Who doesn't have an old copy of MS Office installed on computers and relies on it for creating documents with tables? One of my favorite gripes about GoogleDocs word processing and spreadsheet component is that auto-format is non-existent. Why is it so hard to setup alternating rows of cells with grey backgrounds?

The only winner of this "We're going to wield our mighty power and no longer support Microsoft products (e.g. older versions of Internet Explorer and MS Office)" power struggle is...well...no one. Well, maybe the folks who make LibreOffice who do provide backward compatibility for saving MS Office formats, etc.
The following features are intended for release to these domains on October 1st:Docs: The built-in exporting feature from Google Docs to Microsoft Office will now allow users to download Google documents as modern Office formats (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx), as opposed to the older formats (.doc, .xls, .ppt) that were standard in Office 97-2003. For users who still use Office 97-2003, we recommend installing the free compatibility plugin from Microsoft, which will allow them to open modern Office file types.
Note: The ability to import Office files of any format to Google Docs is still supported and will remain unchanged. (Source: Google)

What do I think you should do?  I encourage everyone to start using free, open source software again if they're using desktop/laptop/netbook computers. Now, time to clean out my Gmail account...argh, 27,000 emails to go. Sigh.

Sources of Free Software

And, if you're really game, do what I do and get yourself setup with the following free operating system that works on both Mac and Windows computers:

I use Linux every day and love it.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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