Office 2008 is almost two times faster to do the same task as 2004 (tested by logging CPU time for the app doing the same task) for Intel machines. It uses about 1/4 more real memory but 1/4 less virtual memory. It is clearly faster and doesn't beachball like 2004 did. The UI is much better than 2004, much more integrated and consistent.
But it has broken compatibility with Endnote XI, causing issues for academic users. And Excel now fails to offer the Analysis toolpak as all old macros are now broken.
iWork: faster and uses less resources that Office 2004 or 2008. Nicer UI but functionality is like a toy:
1) No cross-referencing for word-processing.
2) Pages cannot even outline work.
3) Closed format â” why in this age are Apple still offering closed proprietary formats!?
4) Pages cannot integrate effectively with bibliography software.
3) Numbers is crippled offering no error bars, and way behind on functionality in general. There are horrible bugs in its 3D chart functionality.
Sorry, though I want to like iWork, it fails to support even core Apple domains (education, where, you know, error bars, statistics functions, bibligraphies and cross-referencing are important). For many, that leaves Office or OpenOffice (with no native interface). For word-processing there are great apps like Mellel (puts Pages to shame), but support for Word documents is poor...
For just writing, dump Word/Pages/Mellel and use Scrivener!
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