Google just turned its Google Apps software into something a lot less useful.
From October 1 the software, including its Business, Education, and Government editions, will not be able to download documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in old Microsoft Office formats (.doc, .xls, .ppt).
According to Google you will have to use Word (.docx), Excel (.xlsx), and PowerPoint (.pptx) or the usual non-Microsoft formats will continue to be supported: ODT and RTF for documents, ODS and CSV for spreadsheets, SVG/PNG/JPEG for presentations, as well as PDF, TXT, and HTML.
There are a few businesses that rely both on Google Docs and old Microsoft Office suites. Indeed, some businesses have rolled out Google Docs to avoid having to upgrade a lot of legacy systems and so there is a lot of ancient Volish files sitting there.
Google said that Microsoft offers a free Compatibility Pack for Office 2000, Office XP, and Office 2003. Google told The Next Web that this pack will let users open, edit, and save files using the .xxxX file formats in the newer versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
While this might be true, it is a little strange to say to customers that they will have to use a rival’s software so they can “upgrade” to its product.
It is not clear what Google has to gain from the move, when it could make companies wonder about why they are using Google docs in the first place.