As you may know, Microsoft released the latest version of it's Mac Office suite a few days ago, Office 2011 for Mac. It comes in two editions, one for home users and one for business users. The business version comes with Outlook, replacing Entourage as the Mail/Calendar client.
I picked up the business edition, hoping Outlook would be more like the version on Windows, and it is. The look is similar, but not the same – like the other programs. Also, Microsoft says they have worked to make any compatibility issues go away.
So Outlook and the promise of the return of Visual Basic scripting (I don't use it, but documents I get from work do) were my main reasons for upgrading. I was hoping that the speed of the programs wouldn't get any worse (launching Word or Excel 2008 means going to get a drink and coming back to it being almost ready on my quad core MacPro).
The big surprise – the new Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook open up fast. They're ready to go after just a few seconds! This is a welcome improvement – I no longer dread having to use these programs (and because of work, I do – Pages and especially Numbers just won't cut it for many documents at work).
One tip though – after installing Office 2011, but before running any of the programs, open Font Book (in your Applications folder), select all the fonts, and then click on Edit->Resolve Duplicates. For some reason, some duplicate fonts got installed on both of my systems, and some stuff stated looking pretty weird in Mail and other programs. Resolving the duplicates seems to have cleared up the strange font problems I had.
I haven't had a chance to use the programs extensively yet, but so far, they are definitely an improvement, at least for me, over 2008.