Microsoft Corp released on Tuesday the first major update for Office 2007 a month ahead of schedule.

The update seeks to improve the current stability and performance of the productivity software package. Microsoft said in a statement that the release date of Office 2007 service Pack 1 (SP1) was scheduled for early 2008, but that the company completed software updates sooner than expected. The update comes almost a year after the most recent version of Office went on sale on at the end of January 2007.

The software maker said that the new update, which has gotten much less attention that Vista SP1, will help make Office crash less, easier to use and more secure than the original program. The changes are largely performance and stability improvements. The update removes five bugs that most often crash Office applications.

These enhancements span the software applications and servers that home and office workers use each day and will make the 2007 Office system an even more robust and effective productivity tool, Office product manager Reed Shaffner said in a feature posted to Microsoft's Web site. In essence, SP1 targets the issues that customers told us mattered to them most.

SP1 is available today as a free download from or by requesting a CD at Microsoft said an automatic update will be available in around three to six months.