Is there a particular “much smaller company” you are referring to?
One thing that while you were pondering you must have realized, is that being the inventor of many technologies used by other companies, Steinberg is certainly unique in many ways.
They introduced VST3 for example, but that does not mean they can simply discard earlier version support, but has to maintain two sets of plugin formats or have a plugin wrapper, etc. whatever their choice of venue is/was. Other companies simply elect not to support some of those technologies, and can cut down time that way.
All hosts out there do not have all the technologies that Steinberg has incorporated into Cubase. Some don’t have scoring, for example. Scoring is a pretty heavy weight, that some companies elect to keep off their shoulders.
As far as nightmare, as you so eloquently put it, or whether you are missing something, one can look at it this way. If you are not a user of these other software’s, you do not experience the bugs that exists in any software. The Steinberg community happens to be a fairly vocal and probably larger than other host makers, which is probably why these things are more visible.
The same scenario exists for Microsoft v.s. Apple. While Apple was a puny company, you didn’t see many viruses, or for that matter too many malicious ones, whereas Windows had their fair share. Now that Apple has risen in size, one can easily see the trend changing, simply due to its populous screaming about it, because there are just more users experiencing it, and it’s more fun for developers creating them. However, in all this time Microsoft has experience in dealing with these things on a scale that few have, so one would hope that this knowledge is and has been beneficial for all (including Apple), since it has been documented and made available to anyone, over the years.
Lastly, I would be surprised if most Cubase customers use or even know about half of the features in Cubase, ever.
One would think that with you having these concerns, you would look around and try to find a software that fits your needs better than Cubase. It almost seems as if there is already one that tickles your interest, but I suppose that would be presumptuous of me to propose, just a hunch really. I meant no offense in saying that.
Anyways, just some observations of mine in this regard.