"Win7 removed the Quick Launch" What crack you are talking?
Win7 took the Mac approach you so love and combined the real-estate for applications you want to launch and applications which are already running. If you want a new instance of an application just right-click (or left-click-drag-up) the icon and run it.
IMHO, the Ribbon is categorized much better than in the previous Office versions.
Also, people usually want to apply several actions from the same category before moving to another. For that the Ribbon works great.
As for keyboard shortcuts, just hold or tap Alt and you see the shortcut overlayed. It's as simple as that.
As for the actual shortcuts being confusing, I agree.