What does OEM mean?

Well, all is in the question...
Very often we see OEM computer products, hardware as well as software. It seems cheaper than the 'normal' product, so what is the difference?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
OEM = Originally Equipment Manufacturer

These are items meant to be sold to "Original Equipment Manufacturers" for building/installing in/on a new computer.  They are the full version of the product, but lacking certain warranty and/or support features as the person making the computer is SUPPOSED to handle that.  That's why they are cheaper - the manufacturer doesn't have to provide as much support for the product.
Short for original equipment manufacturer, which is a misleading term for a company that has a special relationship with computer producers. OEMs buy computers in bulk and customize them for a particular application. They then sell the customized computer under their own name. The term is really a misnomer because OEMs are not the original manufacturers -- they are the customizers.
- http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/O/OEM.html


Original Equipment Manager (or OEM)

Company that manufactures equipment or, illogically, has equipment manufacturered for it by another company. The abbreviation is often used as a verb, as in: 'IBM OEMs PCs from Acer' (in other words, Acer makes PCs with IBM badges for IBM to sell).

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ornicarAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the links.

So, I understand that the support & guarantee is not insured by the original manufacturer, but 'should' be insured by the dealer?
Technically, it should be supported by the manufacturer, but the majority of the time it falls to the dealer of the equipment.
if you are purchasing OEM hardware what you will see is that all you get is the hardware

IE: OEM hard drive ships just the drive
     RETAIL hard drive ships in a branded box with screws a cable instructions and a dignostic disk

OEM cd\rw ships jsut teh drive
REtail cd\rw ships in a branded box with cd burning software screws cables and instructions

OEM processors are jsut processors
reatain processors come with a heat sink and fan.

OEM software will most likely be cheaper but will have to be accompanied by a hardware purchase and will only be the cd and liscence code

retail software is more expensive but does not require hardware purchase at teh same time + will come with a boox on the software inaddation to teh software cd and liscence code.
retail: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=22-148-028&depa=1

oem: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=22-148-013&depa=1

and in most cases the manufacturer of the product will support it unless it come from adn manufacturer like dell HP gateway etc
ornicarAuthor Commented:
So OEM software is usually sold with a computer. What about OEM hardware, for instance here:


they sell a mouse, but they don't say that it must be bought when purchasing a computer( or I don't read correctly). So my question: There is no legal rules or laws? Is it just usual practice to do so?
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Sometimes this can just refer to packaging.  For example, most hard drives that are OEM may only come in a plain box with no manual and no mounting capability.  In the case of the mouse, I would expect it to mean it's a generic packaging.
Sohel RanaCommented:
>> What does OEM mean?

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM software is sold by the software creator to a hardware manufacturer. For example, Microsoft will sell OEM versions of Windows and Office to companies like Dell or Gateway, at volume discounts. Dell and Gateway are then able to sell you the PC, complete with software, at a reasonable price. If you bought a PC from one of these companies, chances are that in the box, you found a handful of CD-ROMs with all kinds of software on them. No manuals, no instructions - just the CDs. These CDs are OEM software.

Sometimes, people and/or companies will not use the OEM software that came with their computer, and so they decide to sell the software, usually very inexpensively. If you need the software, it's a great way to save tens or hundreds of dollars off of the retail, boxed version you would buy in the store.

There ARE restrictions, however. Some OEM software comes with a restrictive license that says it can only be used with the hardware it originally came with. So, if you got an OEM version of CD-burning software, the license may restrict you to using the software ONLY with the CD-burner that came with your PC. These licenses, while restrictive, are also unusual.

Most OEM licenses only require you to buy a piece of hardware with the OEM software - ANY piece of hardware. For instance, you can pick up an OEM version of Windows XP Professional at a high discount, as long as you buy a cheap mouse at the same time. It's a silly rule, but licenses are licenses.

Some OEM software have no restrictions, but those are few and far in-between. You should always find out the license restrictions with OEM software BEFORE you buy.

Other differences between OEM and retail software?

-You usually won't receive a box or a manual with OEM software. Just the CD-ROM.
-You usually won't be entitled to any kind of technical support from the manufacturer with OEM software. So you're on your own.
-Retail versions of software are MUCH more expensive than OEM versions.

Reference : http://www.help2go.com/article206.html


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I always turn to http://www.acronymfinder.com/ when I want to know what an acronym or abbrevation stands for.
OEM for example yields:
In my experience, OEM hardware doesn't come with anything except for the hardware itself.  For instance, a retail box of a hard drive will likely include diagnostic tools, documentation, warranty information, maybe some cables, etc, in addition to the drive itself.  OEM would not include any of this.  Warrantees are sometimes included with OEM hardware... you usually have to read or ask and you can figure it out, but I haven't found a rule of thumb when it comes to OEM Hardware Warrantees.

~ Jonny
Often spares for Main Equipment (say a Car) are available from many manufactureres, vendors. However you may like to go in for OEM spares that is - of the same brand as used by the original manufacturers of the main equipment.
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