Honestly, Minecraft isn't that great. It could have been miles ahead if Notch had known how to freakin code well when he started it. That bad framework has been holding them back for ages.
A well-coded copy of Minecraft could have close to the same amount of features a year after coming out.
Coding wise? Yeah, definately truth to this statement. Of course, you have to keep in mind, the first five plus years it was just notch by himself, who never made any claims of being a brilliant coder. One of the first things je did when he started making good money was to hire a team of programmers like jeb.
I was more referring to the features of minecraft. The nether, the end, potions, beacons, enchantments, biome diversity, mines, temples, world size, variety in materials, red stone, pistons etc.