Microsoft has released a massive update (12.2.0) for Office 2008 for Mac. Among other things, it adds path animation to PowerPoint ('bout time), automatically configures MobileMe in Entourage, and sets up document sharing (Microsoft Document Connection) via SharePoint and Office Live Workspace.
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On my 2.8GHz MacBook Pro, installing the update cut the launch time, including the splash and the display of a new, blank document, of Word and Excel from around 7 to 13 seconds down to about 3 seconds, although there is now a slight delay between the initial document display and the first response to input. I haven't determined yet whether Office runs faster, or whether this release addresses Office 2008's battery-drain issues, but Microsoft's Office 2008 change log for update 12.2.0 (unusually detailed for Microsoft) shows that the Mac Business Unit is alive, well, and very busy.
A long list of bugs has also been addressed, and the update rolls up all prior fixes. If you don't have AutoUpdate enabled in Office 2008, open any Office app and select Check for Updates from the Help menu.