I love portrait displays, and have one, but I often use my laptop without one. And the laptop screen is wide, not tall. This seems like a terrible use of space, when they should be figuring out how to get more of my content visible without scrolling.
They say you gain vertical space compared to Office 2008, so maybe it’s a good thing I haven’t installed that yet!
I’m not even going to discuss visual clutter or whether you can find things — the ribbon may indeed make Word’s vast number of features more approachable.
For contrast, Pages has 5 strips of controls (menu bar, toolbar, format bar, ruler, and stuff at the bottom), and one of those is shared with the horizontal scroll bar so it doesn’t steal vertical space. Yes, there are palettes, but they use space on the side and don’t steal content area from typical documents.