Re: Am I missing something here?
> Windows 3.x - amazing, breakthrough platform. A solid, usable GUI environment, but with full backward compatibility to DOS,
Most went to Windows 3.x so that they could run multiple DOS boxes - Lotus123 and WordPerfect. Solid?? if you didn't get 'Unrecoverable Application Error' with 3.0 every day then you weren't using it. 3.1 was much better but simply replaced UAE with a different message.
> Windows NT - sheer genius:
And that genius was DEC's David Cutler
> Windows CE/Mobile - the breakthrough mobile OS,
Now you are being ironic, maybe you misspelt 'broken'. CE was the equivalent of MS-DOS: single core, single tasking with something like the TSR system. It may have been fine for embedded systems (which is what it was designed for: CE=Consumer Electronics) but it was a stretch to call it an operating system.
> way ahead of its time
No it wasn't, it was from the mid 90s and was all that Microsoft had.
> Abandoning it was Microsoft's single biggest mistake, which Apple quickly capitalized on with its own vastly inferior mobile OS.
They didn't abandon it until far too late, it was still in Windows Phone 7, though this was completely incompatible with the previous CE Windows Mobile 6.x.
> Credit where credit is due - Microsoft didn't rise to power by building crappy products.
No. It rose to power by buying products or companies, rebranding them and making them crappy.
> Alas, once its competitors were all exterminated, the company rapidly went to seed.
Many competitors were all exterminated by MS contracting with them or buying them. The current competitors survived by not being able to be bought, either because they were too big in other areas or because they can be forked and survive.