Microsoft on Tuesday issued updates for its venerable Office suite versions 2004 and 2008.

Office 2004 gets a security boost with the Mac 11.5.6 update, which corrects a vulnerability that could allow a remote baddie to overwrite your computer's memory. The 2008 version sees the same security fix in its Mac 12.2.3 update, plus a host of other minor upgrades, such as resolving text spacing issues in documents that originated on Windows system. The update should also reduce some frustrations. Previously, Word was prone to closing unexpectedly when a user accepted tracked changes. Stability is similarly improved in Excel and PowerPoint, which have had unpredictable crashes in some circumstances. Entourage, Microsoft's email client for the Mac, also gets a better junk mail filter.

Office 2004 and its most recent update require OS X 10.2.8 or newer. The previous Office update (11.5.5) must be installed, too. For Office 2008 and its current update, you'll need OS X 10.4.9 or newer. Again, a previous update (12.1.0) must be installed first.

In August, Microsoft announced that it would release a new version of Office for Mac users in late 2010, complete with Outlook for Mac (a replacement to Entourage).