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Microsoft updates Mac Office 2008

Promises, promises

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Microsoft today released the latest in its ongoing series of updates to Office 2008 for Mac.

According to Microsoft, fixer-upper 12.1.5 "contains several changes that improve security, stability, reliability, and performance. Additionally, this update includes fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of a computer's memory by using malicious code."

The security updates in 12.1.5 are rated "Important" - although the same updates to Microsoft Office Word 2000 and Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 are rated "Critical". The updates to both Windows and Mac versions of Office patch vulnerabilities that "could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Word or Rich Text Format (RTF) file," with the possible outcome of that nasty code taking "complete control of an affected system." Not good.

Direct from Redmond's Department of Tautology comes the description of stability improvements, which fix "an issue that causes Office 2008 applications to close unexpectedly when you open or use Office 2008 applications."

Microsoft also claims improved "performance in Excel and in PowerPoint when documents from a network share or from a shared folder on a virtual machine appear in the recently used files list;" plus improvements in Word 97-2004 formatting; tweaks to a slew of Excel functions, PivotTable sorts, and image placement; and - wait for it! - updated time zone information in Entourage.

All-in-all, 12.1.5 seems to be a worthy update - especially if you're an avid Excel user or if you'd prefer that some miscreant not "take complete control" of your Mac.

To take advantage of all this upgradey goodness, download the 103.6MB update here. Alternatively, you should be able to simply choose Check for Updates from any Office 2008 for Mac application's Help menu, but this option didn't yet work for us at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Also remember that you may need to install previous updates before upgrading to 12.1.5. But hey, what's a few hundred megabytes of 12.1.1, 12.1.2, 12.1.3, and 12.1.4 downloads among friends? ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

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