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The adoption of commercial off-the-shelf middleware products across the software industry has gathered significant momentum. While COTS middleware products demonstrably solve many problems, their adoption and use are by no means straightforward. Competition among products that apparently offer identical services complicates the COTS middleware selection process, especially when competing products provide different implementations of standards-based technologies, such as CORBA and Java 2 Enterprise Edition. The article discusses the Middleware Technology Evaluation project, which represents a significant attempt to provide rigorously derived, in-depth evaluations of technology for use by middleware product adopters.