Google’s online office suite will drop support for older Microsoft Office formats like .doc and .xls on October 1, 2012.
Google announced that as of October 1st Google Apps users will not longer be able to export Google Docs format files to the classic Microsoft Office formats, .doc, .xls and.ppt. In their blog post “Scheduled Release track features update 9/25/12” they said
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.
I sort of giggled when I read that they will be forcing people to use “modern” Office formats because, sadly, so many business users still send things in the old .doc format. Users will still be able to export to the Office Open XML formats, .docx, .xlsx and .pptx, as well as various other options (rich text, .csv, etc). If you’re using a version of Microsoft Office prior to Office 2003 you will not be able to use the new exported doc formats. However, Microsoft does offer a compatibility pack to help users of Office 2000 and 2002 work with the newer formats.
The ability to import Office files of any format to Google Docs is still supported and will remain unchanged.