In late September, Google announced that, starting on October 1st, Google Docs users would not be able to download documents in the .doc, .xls, and .ppt formats, which were used by Microsoft Office from 1997 to 2003. As we noted at the time, there are a lot of businesses and consumers that might still have the older versions of Microsoft Office installed on their PCs and that this move by Google could be a problem for them.
This week, Google revealed that it has decided to change this rather abrupt decision. In a post on the official Google Apps page, the company said:
We recognize that some of our customers would like more time before the change goes into effect. As you may have noticed, that change did not go into effect on October 1. In order to support our customers and help them through the transition, we have delayed the export format change for scheduled release track customers until January 31, 2013.
This move will certainly please many Google Docs and older Microsoft Office users, many of which protested the original decision in comments on Neowin's original story.
This week's blog post added that Google Docs has recently put in support for exporting files in the format that are native to the more recent versions of Microsoft Office, such as docx, .xlsx, and .pptx. It added, "To continue adding new features and innovations to Google Docs, we’ll be focusing our resources on exporting to these newer open formats rather than the older, proprietary Office formats (.doc, .xls, .ppt) that were used in Office 97-2003."
Source: Google Apps blog | Image via Google