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Support for old Office formats ending soon for Google Docs users

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Support for older Office formats such as .doc, .xls and .ppt used in Office 97 to Office 2003 will be dropped at the end of January 2013 from Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Docs. This reminder was posted in the Google Apps blog, which warned that users will no longer be able to export to the older file formats after the cut-off date. Instead, it will output the latest Office formats, such as .docx, xlsx and .pptx which are based on HTML.

The decision was first announced in September of last year, though the uproar over the short one-week notice at that time culminated in Google extending the transition to Jan. 31. The new blog entry also explained that this decision was made so that the team could redirect resources on work, such as adding new features and innovations. Earlier on, Google said that it will maintain support for existing file formats such as OpenDocument formats and PDF files, as well as plain text and JPG images.

Though users still using Office 97-2003 are able to install a free compatibility plugin from Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) to open modern Office file types, the transition is nevertheless expected to cause some hassles. This will be felt most by less tech-savvy users who may not know about the compatibility plugin, or who may simply be unaware of the differences in Office file formats.

For more:
- check out this article at eWeek

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