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What the hell is middleware, and why would anyone want to but something with that name?

By Andrew Pollack on 05/24/2005 at 10:15 PM EDT

Of all the product categories and names out there, what the hell kind of name is “Middleware”? Would you ever buy something called “Middleware”? Is it attractive? What does a name like this promise? Will it make you stronger, wealthier, better looking, faster, or better at your job? At best, it sounds complicated.

It must be something really detailed that hooks two really big things together. Maybe I don’t know what those things are, but they sound really big. Middleware must be expensive. Even if I buy this middleware stuff, I bet it’s hard to use. It’s probably really expensive too.

Who is it for? Someone must be having a big problem to need this stuff. It sounds like he bought a bunch of really big stuff and none of it works with the rest. That poor guy has to spend even more now, or admit to his boss that he screwed up. I’ll be he’ll pay anything he can now. Those ‘middleware’ guys must have a heck of a racket. Glad I don’t need anything like that.

Ok, I’m being a little disingenuous here. I do know what middleware is. I know who claims to make the best of it, and I know what it does. I just think its one of the worst names I’ve heard for a product category.

This name, “Middleware” – this is at best meaningless. This name sounds like the sort of expensive add-on you find out you need half way through a project. The name offers no hint of what it does. The name offers no hope of providing any value. The term “Middle” itself indicates that it has no real purpose of its own. It’s only possible use could be to hook things up that don’t talk to each other. In other words, to bail you out of a screwed up purchase that doesn’t do what you need.

What kind of person WANTS to buy this? Oh boy! The new Middleware is here!

This is a label someone else hangs on your products to reduce the excitement and limit the perceived importance of them. This is not something you give yourself.

There are  - loading -  comments....

My own thoughts on this are...By ajp on 05/25/2005 at 06:30 AM EDT
LOL, this reminds me of a question my mother asked last year.

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