Please Don’t Send Me Microsoft Word Documents is the title of this web page from Tristan Miller, and it logically and thoroughly makes a strong case for calling a halt to the notion that Word is a universal file format. Read it, and bookmark the link so you can send it to all the people you work with who don’t think twice about file formats.
Word is very good for some things, particularly document authoring where comments and revision tracking are important. I use it every day on the Macbook. But Miller is spot-on that the main problem with using any word processor for basic communication is that they conflate composition with typesetting, and most of the time there’s no need for anything more than a simple text editor, which is “future-proof” and whose output can be read by nearly any machine in existence.
Then again, will people get it if you explain it? I think most casual computer users have a very poor understanding of the whole concept of a file format, and that’s a big part of the problem. Back when I was still running Linux full-time, a colleague of mine sent around a document to all faculty in Microsoft Publisher format. When I emailed the person and gently explained that not everybody on campus used Windows and so documents meant for all faculty should be in a generic file format, they re-sent the document… as a Word file.