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Excel XLS Import slowdown in version 8
I have noticed in Mathematica version 8 that Excel (.xls, not the new format) importing is about 3.5 times slower than in version 7. I noticed this because I have a script that reads two sheets from many Excel files that used to take 1.5 seconds per file that now takes around 5.18 seconds per file (AbsoluteTiming). Nothing else is done in that part of the script; it is just a map of an Import command over a list of Excel files. Is anyone else experiencing this slowdown? What is the cause? Are there any remedies?