Someone recently posted a link in a forum that lead to a site making a Windows CE.ME.NT. joke with Microsoft Vista. Well, just how long have we been seeing Windows CE.ME.NT jokes?
Well, Windows NT 4.0 was released on July 29 in 1996, so that's our starting point for the NT jokes.
Windows ME had already been named as early as 1997 under the tag Windows Millennium Edition. Originally Windows ME was supposed to be a consumer oriented (read : pretty) version of Windows NT5. In 1999 Microsoft realized that their re-spin of Windows 2000 Professional was not going to make it out the door in 2000. Another revision of the Windows 9x branch with the new media components from the existing Windows ME project was planned. The new project was given the name Windows ME as it could be out on the market by 2000.
Sort of a side FYI the original Windows ME project made it out the doors in 2001 as Windows Xp. Windows Xp Service Pack 1 and Windows 2000 Professional Service Pack 4 are the exact same operating system having been synced up for security and development purposes. Windows 2000 Professional Service Pack 5 was supposed to keep Win2k Pro in line with Windows Xp SP2. However, Microsoft canceled Service Pack 5 to try and drive sales of Windows XP licenses. Didn't work from my viewpoint.
Anyways, so we have a date of 1997 set for when ME and NT were in place... so how about CE?
I can't find an accurate launch date for when Windows CE 1.0 was released, but I can give the launch date of the Sega Dreamcast. It appeared on November 27 in 1998 over in Japan. One of the high points of the Dreamcast for developers was the availability of a Windows CE development kit alongside Sega's development kit. Since Sega had been working on the console since at least 1996, we can presume that Windows CE was around in 1996 and 1997.
So, both Windows CE and NT were probably around before 1997. The Millennium Edition codename which appeared in 1997 would mean that the first Windows CE.ME.NT. jokes could appeared that year.
And yes. I spent way too much time thinking about this.