back to article Google spikes old MS file formats

If you’re the nostalgic type who still has much of your office content stored in Microsoft binary formats, get ready for a busy weekend: the Chocolate Factory has decided that users of older Microsoft Office versions are an anachronism, and on Monday will kill off support for .doc, .xls and .ppt file formats. The changes to …


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  1. Magnus Ramage

    Download =/= upload

    This sounds perfectly dreadful for all the reasons you say... if it's true. As commentators on the BetaNews page observe, the announcement is really ambiguous. It say you won't be able to "download Google Docs in Office 1997-2003 format (.doc, .xls, .ppt)". If "download" means just that - downloading a file held in Google Docs/Drive to your PC, in a format of your choice - then all this change entails is restricting the choice of download format.

    The announcement says nothing at all about *opening* (i.e. uploading) files in Office 1997-2003 formats. It may be implicit that this won't work, or it may be quite the opposite. It's a perfectly good reading of the announcement to assume that we'll still happily be able to upload & open older Office files in Google Apps after Monday, just not export from Docs into those formats. But it is a bit unclear!

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Download =/= upload

      That makes a lot more sense. Let's try and have some real "reporting" here and not just knee-jerk notes after a few beers.

      1. RICHTO

        Re: Download =/= upload

        Google Apps already cant reproduce many Office documents properly anyway and using it is a joke. I can't believe that some people try and run a business off it. They must not have to exchange documents with any other companies.

        I guess Google are just admitting defeat here and concentrating on the latest format only. For those that need proper Office compatibility, Office Web Apps can be accessed free via

    2. Stephen 2

      Re: Download =/= upload

      Thanks for the info. I was about to say how mad it would be for them to block out old formats like that. Especially since they're still in such heavy use.

      But just limiting the export/download options to newer formats makes more sense.

      1. Kevin Johnston

        Re: Download =/= upload

        Um, why the downvotes on this?

        Seems like a perfectly rational and calm offering suggesting that the article may not have picked up a possible alternative meaning of the announcement.

        1. Schultz
          Thumb Down

          Um, why the downvotes on this?

          Just trying to weed out the sensible types. It's customary here.

        2. Robert E A Harvey

          @KJ re downvoting

          I've given up trying to understand the mad downvoters.

          All I know is they consistently rob me of my ambition to have 10x as many up as downvotes!

          1. Richard Ball

            Re: @KJ re downvoting

            So you float around, trying to say things that people will all agree with, never anything that could offend or provoke a click on the red button.

            Lib Dem by any chance??

            It's fine when people agree, but that's not really the point of these fora.

          2. Robert E A Harvey

            Re: @KJ re downvoting

            2 up, 3 down.

            Well done lads. I knew you couldn't resist.

        3. James Gosling

          Re: Download =/= upload

          The down-voters are probably the editorial staff, who don't like criticism!

        4. Goat Jam

          "Why the downvotes"

          Welcome to the El Reg hive-mind. Just mentioning downvotes will initiate a flurry of downvotes, just watch how this post gets downvoted.

          Apparently it's some sort of hivemind-meme along the lines of "fristy pist" and "in soviet russia" from over in slashdot land, only even more mind-numbingly tedious and banal, if that is even possible.

          Brings to mind an old saying about "small minds" really.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Download =/= upload

        No it doesn't make sense. Anyone who sends their CV in anything other than doc format doesn't really want it to be read.

        1. Kevin Johnston

          Re: Download =/= upload

          But the downvotes are on the comments and not the article and my response was to question that.

          The insistence of recruiters to have .doc format is purely for them to be able to adjust your CV and to use their 10-year old practices to suck the info into their database so they can spam you when they get a word-match. There should be no reason why they can't accept docx (or realistically any 'normal' document format such as odt but that requires them to be IT literate).

        2. BenDwire Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: Download =/= upload

          No. Anyone who sends me their CV in ANY editable format gets a downvote from me. All I want to see is either a paper copy or a PDF. Why on earth did it become the social norm to send out absolutely everything so that it can be modified by the recipient? Who taught these people?

          ...oh, wait....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Download =/= upload

            Don't make spurious judgement calls. You think I can't edit a pdf you send me? I assure you I can.

            Which leaves you only accepting paper cvs. In 2012.

            1. imanidiot Silver badge

              Re: Download =/= upload

              @ AC; 27th September 2012 10:59 GMT

              Not if I lock my PDF's against editing. Which I do.

              1. Vic

                Re: Download =/= upload

                > Not if I lock my PDF's against editing. Which I do.

                Please tell me that's a joke...


              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Not if I lock my PDF's against editing.

                All that does is to set a flag in the document, which software is free to ignore.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Download =/= upload

                "Not if I lock my PDF's against editing. Which I do."

                Honestly, send me your pdf. Bet I can edit it.

                Maybe you can't.

                I can.

                1. O RLY

                  Re: Download =/= upload @AC14:27

                  It's hard to know whom to send it to with you being an AC and all. :)

                  That said, it's unfathomable to think that a PDF is some sort of immutable file. Why I use PDF is because the formatting tends to stay as I intended it and is far less prone to the whims of the word processor.

                2. imanidiot Silver badge

                  Re: Download =/= upload

                  I'm not saying it would be totally impossible and out of the question to edit a locked PDF. Just that normal people, and just about any recruiter couldn't

                  Also, I've just finished a job hunt, I've sent every company I applied to my CV in PDF form. I've never been asked to sent it again in .doc format. As a student I sent it to a company for a summer job and got a reply it would be better to send it as a PDF in the future!

              4. Tim99 Silver badge

                Re: Download =/= upload

                Oh dear, I expect you use Windows, *NIX command: pdfclean LockedFile.pdf UnlockedFile.pdf

          2. Vic

            Re: Download =/= upload

            > Anyone who sends me their CV in ANY editable format gets a downvote from me.

            Ii take it you're not in the recruitment business.

            Recruitment reptiles want editable formats because that enables them to excise bits they don't want employers to see (usually contact details, but sometimes they just decide to change the text that is there...)

            I'm thinking of shipping *only* PDF copies of my CV because I'm getting to the point where I see agencies as nothing but an impediment to finding a client.


            1. Robert E A Harvey
              Thumb Down

              @Vic Re recruitmenr reptiles

              When I was last jobhunting 80% of agencies only wanted CVs in .doc.

              They were the same 80% who sent my details to every damned job that didn't match what I was looking for.

          3. Anonymous Coward

            Re: Download =/= upload

            "No. Anyone who sends me their CV in ANY editable format gets a downvote from me. All I want to see is either a paper copy or a PDF."

            Oh sure, just wait until the candidate or agency POSTS it to you. Wtf??

            " Why on earth did it become the social norm to send out absolutely everything so that it can be modified by the recipient? Who taught these people?"

            What , and you think a CV in pdf format can't be converted or even just cut and pasted and then modified? What friggin planet are you on??

          4. RICHTO

            Re: Download =/= upload

            I havnt yet come across a job site that requests CVs in anything other than .doc files. Office 2013 can edit PDFs anyway, so you are talking crap....

            And paper copies? did you just get out a Delorian?

            1. BenDwire Silver badge

              Re: Download =/= upload

              Oh it gets much worse: I want to see your handwriting too, and see if you can spell without hitting F7....

              No, I'm not in the recruitment business. I employ people for my own company. By all means call me old-fashioned (which I am) but there comes a point where any candidate who wants to work for me gets to talk over their CV ... and guess what, we don't huddle around a monitor, we print it out.

              I'm guessing that many aren't aware of the latter stages of the interview process because they fall at earlier stages.... now why might that be?

              But thanks for making me feel even older than I am. Bloody kids ....

              1. RICHTO

                Re: Download =/= upload

                Hand Writing?! That's rather obsolete in the 21st Century. Cant remember any time in the last 3 years where i have needed to use a pen at work. That's what One Note is for....

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: Download =/= upload

          There exist large organisations who don't run the Microsoft Office suite and won't let you send anything other than an (small) image or PDF over email. DOC - DOCX and related binary formats don't make it through, if you send me a CV electronically and it's not a PDF it's going to get quarantined and I won't read it, all I'll be aware of is that someone tried to send me "spam".

          TL;DR Don't be spam - PDF or paper.


          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Download =/= upload

            Please name these large organisations.

            It's interesting you think .doc is a binary format, but don't believe .pdf is. Please elaborate why?

          2. RICHTO

            Re: Download =/= upload

            Then those organisations must rely on recruitment agencies to regress documents to their requirements.

            I have never ever in dealing with several hundred agencies over the course of my career been asked for my CV as a PDF.

        4. h4rm0ny

          Re: Download =/= upload

          "No it doesn't make sense. Anyone who sends their CV in anything other than doc format doesn't really want it to be read."

          I send my resumé in PDF format. I usually say 'other formats available on request' in the accompanying email, but everyone seems happy with PDF so far.

          Admittedly I export the PDF from a Word document normally (used to use Scribus), but that's not the point.

        5. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Download =/= upload

          18 downvotes, must be a new record.

          I didn't say I agree with it, but that's the reality. I'm sure that some people do send it in a 'locked' PDF format, but if that format's not acceptable to the agency or company they'll get asked to send it in .doc format. Therefore pulling export in .doc support on Google Docs makes things that little bit more annoying for a real-world use case.

        6. Alfred

          Which doc format would that be?

          Given that various versions of Office happily produce mutually incompatible doc formats, sending doc format without checking first sounds like a good way to ensure your CV is either unopenable or mangled, and also easily subject to ham-fisted recruitment agent interference.

          There are, however, formats which suffer relatively little in the way of such problems. PDF is one such, with the added bonus of having reader software everywhere and a good attempt at not reflowing text, wrecking your carefully crafted text.

          Perhaps things are different elsewhere, but in my industry sending CV in DOC format is seen as amateurish and cripples the application right out of the gate.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. RICHTO

            Re: Which doc format would that be?

            As far as I am aware all versions of Office are fully backwards compaitible with at least the last few generations. I have never ever had an 'incompatible' doc format in thousands of documents. .Doc is a fixed format and just works.

            I can only assume your career is a professional Adobe arse kisser, or Microsoft hater then. No job webiste i use even supports uploading PDFs, and not many recruitment agents would accept a CV they can't reformat to agency standards.

    3. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      But MS Office isn't backwards compatible.

      Modern versions of MS Office can't open really old .doc or .ppt files. Power Point 2010 for example, can't open my old ,ppt's from 1996 created by Power Point 97. When I need to reach back in time and open a file that old, I have to fire up a VM that has MS Office 97 on it.

      1. dssf

        Re: But MS Office isn't backwards compatible.

        Migt still be possible to use an older and cheaper copy of Lotus SmartSuite, from around 2002....

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Download =/= upload


      Re: Download =/= upload

      Ahhhhh thanks to the people in Microsoft, who just HAD to invent a new way to keep people jumping through their cash cow hoops, while they tripped up the people with the perfectly OK Orifice 2003, and changing (charging) them to get into the FAKED ISO standard of the DOCX format......

      And the rates of exponentially increasing chaos and decay spread like wild fire.....

      Like the people who stick poison in their bins, and into the rivers and land fills, and then 20 years later when all the crap has contaminated the ground water, and they and their kids and their kids kids are all full of cancer and mutations, from drinking the water from the town wells and the food grown in their gardens...

      This is what Microsoft has achieved - the word processor market - with insanely bad backwards incompatibility with their own FORMER products......

      I hope the management of Microsoft become trapped like the rats they are in the sticky traps they made for the consumers and the never ending cash cow upgrade cycles they created.

      I hope that the uptake of Liberoffice etc., continues to the point that Microsoft grinds to a halt on the lack of resales and bankruptcy.

      I know, I am going to be a fan of Ned Luddite - and use a text editor to make all my documents with, my first one to the managers of Google and Microsoft will be "suckonthis.txt"

  2. Gunda

    They should keep the option to download in legacy formats available. There is no need for Google to become another Microsoft and decree one day that they will drop support for something just because they want to. There was a time when Google did what users wanted. But now, Google is headed towards becoming another Microsofit/Oracle/Apple. Too bad.

    1. Azzy

      Not in user's interest, but definitely in Google's

      I'll wager that the purpose for this is to discourage people from distributing documents by downloading docs from Google Docs and emailing them around to people. They want people to share the document with the recipients via Google Docs, so they can take a stab at getting them to use Google Docs for everything - and the people still using Office 2003 are seen as good targets, because they haven't upgraded yet.

      I still use 2003 myself - I got very good at the old interface in college, and I don't use Office enough to spend the time learning a new interface, and I generally don't like the ribbon. And in any case, I don't use Office enough to spend what Microsoft wants for the new version - it's not like they've added any features I need. As it happens, I use Google Docs regularly (for formatted text - Excel just buries the docs spreadsheet), so if I hadn't started using it already, i'd be the kind of person Google would want to target.

      1. RhysM

        Re: Not in user's interest, but definitely in Google's

        I'd take a a stab in the dark and say they're perhaps implementing some new features that might not be able to be exported to a nearly two decade old file format and trying to make all their new features backward compatible is a pain in the neck.

        1. Ramazan

          Re: new features that might not be able to be exported

          So they are suckers because THEY CANNOT export those features... Let's leave that to better developers than Google, end of story

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: new features that might not be able to be exported

            Sure ... which developers are they then? Those ones who are better than Google devs?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dunno how bad this is...

    Sure, when you read this the first time the idea is indeed "Google drops support for old stuff, guess the commercial interests rule again". But if you check the link in the article it becomes quite obvious that the only feature Google is dropping is the ability to export their documents to these older formats.

    Which I think makes sense. If you want to sent stuff to others then why not use online storage such as SkyDrive or Google's alternative (I have no idea if they even have something like that, I don't keep up with their products) ?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fear factor.

    I must admit to being guilty of the same knee jerk reaction of many. I do think google are missing a subtle issue here. Of course right now they are only dropping the ability to download, but it does so a small seed of doubt in one's mind that they will drop upload support in future. It is not going to help take up of their product given many commercial customers are still leary of cloud products and storing their data somewhere outside of their own control. Right now offerers of such products need to be adding as much functionality as possible not taking it away. Five years down the line when you have them by the short and curlies, that is the time to start taking away support of older legacy formats.

    1. Ben Tasker

      Re: Fear factor.

      A their aim is to get (and keep) you using Google Docs, I suspect it'll be a very long time before they stop you from uploading in those formats, especially given the number of documents businesses will have floating around in .doc etc.

      I'd guess that they are planning on doing some kind of tweaking to the export functionality, and decided they didn't want the overhead of doing .doc support for whatever reason. The age of the format gives them the perfect excuse.

      Whether that's malign or malicious intent I guess is down to the individuals perspective though

  5. bigfoot780
    Thumb Up

    Google doing what m$ wont

    Dropping support for old browsers and formats. Maybe it will help prevent another ie6.

    1. The obvious

      Re: Google doing what m$ wont

      They're trying to prevent another IE6 by turning Chrome into the next IE4. :)

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Crap reporting

    Cheap dig?

    It clearly states support for *exporting* to those formats is being dropped.

    That's a helluva lot different to having no support at all!

    It also makes perfect sense. You'll be able to open those formats and I would imagine, export them to newer formats.

    Can't see the problem here.

  7. Diana Artemis

    Libre Office - tick

    You say, "or abandon both entirely in favour of something like LibreOffice."

    What an excellent suggestion!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "a gold-standard product differentiator: backwards compatibility."

    Who writes this stuff?

    In places like the one where my desk is, there is a regulatory requirement to be able to read old stuff. Not just old MS stuff, but even WordPerfect and the like, sometimes two decades old. The corporate IT-provided MS-centric solution can't even read older MS stuff (where does this idea that MS provide backward compatibility come from), and it doesn't stand a chance with WordPerfect.

    LibreOffice, on the other hand, is prohibited by IT, as is installing (or even downloading) any unapproved software in general. "Security risk", you see. But with (portable) LibreOffice brought in illicitly on a memory stick, you click on the antique document, it opens in LibreOffice, it's readable (maybe not perfect, but usable), you save a private PDF copy for quick reference, and the master is still safe if you need it. Job done, IT Department irrelevant.

    Thanks for nothing, Microsoft-dependent ignorant IT managers.

    1. Ben Tasker

      Re: xxxxOffice

      They've not locked that down too well have they? Used to work on a similar network, but it had a whitelist of executables, making it far harder to run 'naughties'.

      Right, shower's on in preparation for what I'm about to say:

      You could take the corporate approach, which would be to generate a risk analysis report stating that if the regulator were to do an audit, we'd be unable to open any documents created pre (insert year) leading to potential fines of fuckinghellthatshigh.

      Mitigation: Use LibreOffice, provides support yadayadayaday

      Licensing costs: Fuckall

      Impact: None for most users

      And then what they'll do is (probably) have a skim read, and bin it. But the next time you need one of those older documents, you adhere to IT policy (so don't load LO) and instead escalate the issue up the chain (can't open this document, told you about this etc).

      I've found, through bitter experience, if you circumvent a policy to get your job done it's generally ignored. but if you get a boss who doesn't like you, or someone with a grudge, they're then able to use that as ammo against you. The more 'ammo' they get, the bigger a threat they become, especially as the buggers dealing with your grievance after you've been disciplined won't look at as "doing what he needs to do his job", they'll see it as "fair cop, was circumventing security policies" as I'd imagine would any tribunal.

      As distasteful as it is, sometimes you just have to let things fail. Otherwise you're potentially risking your own employment for the benefit of the business, and making it quite easy for them to get rid of you ("We take security very seriously here"). It also lets the pointy heads continue to pretend they're doing a good job by only shopping with MS!

      1. Hnk0

        Re: xxxxOffice

        Ain't that true Ben, ain't that true...

        I had to fight with IT to get the software I needed to DO MY JOB. First they complained that the Adobe Creative suite was too expensive, so when I pointed them to GIMP, which does what I need and is free, it was a case of "but if it's free how do we know it's not full of virus/trojan/STDs?"

        After weeks of the IT higher ups "investigating" (I guess that means they asked their nephew if GIMP was OK), they relented, more probably because I was being a pain in the arse than anything else. Hey, at least I have GIMP now!

        1. Ben Tasker

          Re: xxxxOffice

          more probably because I was being a pain in the arse than anything else

          In the corporate world, sometimes that's the only thing you can do to get it done.

          When one of my ex-employers switched to a network supplied/managed by an outside company, I found a few fairly gaping security holes in what was supposed to be (in the sense that it needed to be, but also that they claimed it to be) a very secure network. I did the proper thing and quietly reported it up their chain, having notified the relevant people within our org. Got a thanks we'll get it fixed, but the fix didn't come. So, I wrote a very slightly weaponised proof of concept (no harm though), passed it to the relevant people in our org and said "I reported this issue, they said they'd fix. Look at the code I've sent you, a) a 6 year old could write it and b) it should be clear that this PoC is harmless only because I've decided it should be". Sometimes highlighting the danger is the only way to get things done, after demonstrating just how easy it was to exploit, the hole was fixed quickly because our org started leaning on the supplier.

          so when I pointed them to GIMP, which does what I need and is free, it was a case of "but if it's free how do we know it's not full of virus/trojan/STDs?"

          If you pointed at a GIMP and asked if you could use him, I'd probably ask the same thing ;)

          Seriously though, there is still a pervasive mindset that free == risky and expensive == safe. We all know that neither is accurate, but it does take some convincing to get those with the money to see that. The main thing, I've learnt, is not to put yourself at risk just to get the job done. You certainly won't get thanked, and it may even be used against you later!

          1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

            @Ben Tasker

            Ben, I don't imagine you'll get the upvotes you deserve, but thanks anyway for sharing your experience anyway.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: xxxxOffice

        I'd like to add that one should always give one or more alternative solutions to your preferred solution. And if they work out to be more expensive, not adequate, or awkward to implement - well so much the better

        In this case I'd suggest the alternatives should include

        getting a third party to open your old file and make accreditated copies in modern format

        a workstation with the appropiate period software and necessary antique o/s installed

        a contracted third party to do the job for you if required

    2. Badvok

      Re: xxxxOffice

      "The corporate IT-provided MS-centric solution can't even read older MS stuff (where does this idea that MS provide backward compatibility come from), and it doesn't stand a chance with WordPerfect."

      Office Professional Plus 2010 (i.e. the version I'm currently using) comes with converters for WordPerfect 5.x and 6.x, Works 7.0-9.0, all old Word versions, and a generic text grabber for even older stuff. I'm thinking this might be why people think MS provide backward compatibility.

      I guess your IT department just isn't giving you the whole shebang.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: xxxxOffice : " your IT department just isn't giving you the whole shebang."

        xxxxOffice AC here again, on the way out so quick reply.

        The only thing they're giving most of the users is hassle. What they are doing is not improving security, all it is doing is decreasing productivity in the business as a whole. But the CEO thinks IT are doing a great job, so although Ben and other's suggestions would make a great deal of sense in most places, here they don't.

        E.g. risk registers were a recognised concept even here, but only if they make it look like everything is under control. It is not permitted to point out that critical projects are often single person projects, with all the risks that entails. At the moment the one man who did the risk registers no longer does them anyway... can't imagine why.

        Today's highlight was that a critical piece of the Intranet which has been outsourced ro an external site appears to work fine on IE6/XP (still dominant here) but doesn't usably work on a newly imaged by IT Win7 with their chosen default IE. Magic.

        The "management" here seem to treat Scott Adams' works as a source of inspiration, not of comedy.

        Good job we're not doing anything important like running a bank.

  9. Mage Silver badge

    Makes no difference

    The import / export/formatting etc was always rubbish anyway.

    I'd avoid Google docs / apps like the plague for anything that isn't

    a) Collaborative

    b) Less than 3 pages.

  10. fastoy2

    Bring Back Eric!

    Why is Google being so difficult? They've wreaked havoc already in Docs by abandoning the old Writely format without addressing the long list of valid issues raised by users. They changed all their calender colors to a putrid pastel in the face of untold users who couldn't differentiate the soft colors. See

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Louis 4

    Er, are you sure? The linked announcement and therein linked support article only mentioned discontinued support for *downloading* in .doc etc ... but I didn't see any mention of dropped support for uploading them. Not as big an issue by far as ceasing to support uploading them would be.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      I see.

      And the difference between uploading your documents to a place you cannot download them from and chucking them in the bin would be..........what?

      1. Ben Tasker

        You can download them, just not in the old format. How much use that is is another question...

  13. Jim Hill

    Headline's wrong, you just can't export _from_ g-docs in the old format

    "Users no longer have the ability to download Google Docs in Office 1997-2003 format ".

  14. Ian Easson

    Those "antique" formats are 90+% of all Office documents

    Say what you will about the document formats (IS29500) that Microsoft adopted starting in Office 2007, there is no doubt that 90+% of all existing documents are in the older (binary) formats). These are the formats that Google no longer supports!

    Ask yourself: Why???

    1. Ramazan

      Re: Ask yourself: Why???

      maybe Microsoft started to require royalty per each file saved in its old proprietary format?

  15. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    "something like LibreOffice"

    I'd think I'd want something *better* than LibreOffice. It's a fine product on its own terms but I find that about 50% of PPT files and a similar proportion of DOC files with complex (*) page layouts get horribly garbled or refuse to open. Having said that, there are two mitigating factors.

    Firstly, the same is true for Microsoft's own converter trying to make their "X" formats readable to Office 2003. I don't know if accurate file format documentation exists within MS, or indeed if the various versions of Office over the years have been sufficiently consistent in their interpretation to make such documentation possible, but the evidence suggests that it isn't.

    Secondly, "complex" in this context means some hideous abuse of floating text boxes and manual formatting, rather than the far simpler (and more reliable) use of styles and sections. <smug class="git"> I never have trouble with moving my own documents between packages. </smug>

    1. Ben Tasker

      Re: "something like LibreOffice"

      I don't know if accurate file format documentation exists within MS

      It does but they've forgotten how to open the containing file format so can't read it.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Ask yourself: Why???"

    Same reason Google bought QuickOffice, maybe?

    The default goal of corporate capitalism is not a free and fair market, it is a monopoly, and if not a monopoly, then a cartel (even Adam Smith knew about cartels).

    Eliminating the competition, like MS did and Google are doing, is one approach.

    QuickOffice, being something that allowed users on the move to access their documents on the portable device as well as in the cloud, is a competitor to Google Docs. Therefore it must be eliminated.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Ask yourself: Why???"

      It's nowhere near as good as the recently released Softmaker Office for Android though.

  17. Graham Marsden


    If you have a product which does the job you need and works fine, why should you need to upgrade (and probably pay for the priviledge) to the latest shiny, whizzy piece of bloatware or be derided for not doing so??

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google doing the right thing IMO

    Microsoft's OOXML and Open Document Format (ODF) are both now ISO standards.

    It's time to move to using one or both of these.

    Don't forget, MS Office 2013 is currently the ONLY version of Office that fully supports OOXML!

    Me, I use LibreOffice.

  19. BigAndos

    Awful Reporting

    Is it just me, or has the standard of reporting really gone downhill in The Register? The headline and article completely miss the point of the announcement. The contents of the article are misleading. Either El Reg is employing idiotic journalists who can't read properly, or everything is slowly moving away from fact to opinion in an attempt to garner as many page views as possible.

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Anonymous Coward

    *.doc vs *.docx

    *.doc is an awful old crap. It is documented by MS since 2008, though (google it). *.docx is NOT really a binary format. Rather, it is something very much like zipped HTML files. Just decompress it using an unzipper. Then pretty-format the XML and edit with Emacs. Or emit *.docx using Cobol, Perl, PL/1 or whatever.

    Certainly it is also documented and should be useable by anyone with some HTML experience. There is a learning curve, though. Much much better than in the in 90s, I would say.

    Open Document format is conceptually the same.

  22. AJ MacLeod

    Perils of cloudy computing

    If you're silly enough to hand complete control of your data and essential computing environment over to faceless corporations, you deserve everything you get... Whether or not this turns out to have been a storm in a teacup is irrelevant, it should be a warning to those ignorant enough to rely on these sorts of services.

  23. ggb667

    I'm not sure about this.....

    There are 2 very different problems here:

    1. Making people move to the new docs - so only let them save in the new format.

    2. Handling that file on the zip disc from 1986 that had the cool poem you write in high school.

    It should let you open 2 but only save 1.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think the intent here is to keep folks locked into Google

    Consider someone using an old version of Office who is faced with the decision of spending the wonga to upgrade Office so they can read the download formats now available


    staying with Google.


  25. IGnatius T Foobar

    Only dropping export, not import

    They're only dropping the ability to *export* in crufty obsolete microsoft formats. I'm sure they will continue to import those documents as best they can, because they *want* people bringing their document libraries into Google Office.

    Continuing to allow export in obsolete formats only serves to help proliferate those formats. Guess what, kids: Microsoft wants those formats gone as much as Google does.

    You can't export into WordPerfect 5.1 format either, and I don't see anyone complaining about that.

  26. Jim Birch

    The nasty side of progress

    This has to be the beginning of the end for Google. These labyrinthine old data formats don't have proper specification documents, aren't even reliably interoperable between different Microsoft products, and were actually designed with the (then, smart) objective of being read as fast as possible from a floppy disk into clunky old memory chips using a glacially slow processor without a minute or two of reprocessing before becoming editable. Someone has to look after them in their dotage and if Google won't, I can't see that company going anywhere.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Except...That you Post Is Crap

      *.doc has been documented since 2008 by MS. It is a legacy format and Google does not want people to create *new* documents in that format. Which is a perfectly good aim.

      There is more than one piece of open source which can read *.doc. So you will be able to read *.doc even in the year 2500. If you like you can also *write* *.doc in the year 2500, as there is serious open source stuff around which can still do that (AbiWord and OpenOffice). Just get your copy of the source and MS' documentation if you are anxious.

      Sometimes it helps to reasearch something before posting about it.

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