Original equipment manufacturer

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Under an original equipment manufacturer (English Original Equipment Manufacturer, OEM, translated original equipment manufacturer ) refers to a manufacturer of components or products, which produces them in its own factories, but it does not bring itself into retail.

In many industries, however, the opposite meaning of the term OEM has established itself. Thus one sees, for example, in the mechanical engineering and automotive industry under one OEMs a company that brings products under its own name in the trade. From component suppliers to these companies Resale Discounts are often referred to as OEM discount.

In the computer industry, the term is original equipment in quite different contexts application.


A manufacturer who has a known and positive impact, brand names, these also usually use to sell its own or purchased goods. This makes it but also bound to numerous statutory provisions. So he must ensure, for example, the stock of spare parts and is responsible with regard to product liability and warranty. In addition, there are high costs of advertising and sales.

A manufacturer who does not have brand names and appropriate distribution channels can fully concentrate on research, development and production, and its products sell to multiple brands.

Especially in the metal processing industry one talks like the "extended workbench " of the brand manufacturer.


A number of brand manufacturers supply both products to the trade as well as finished products to other manufacturers. These are identical in general, but may differ, for example, in a non- conducted inspection of outgoing goods or modifications requested by the customer - be in the IT industry for example, some motherboard models in the OEM version to other functions or connections (usually the housing connectors) equipped. In this case, one also speaks of badge engineering.

OEM products on the market

From overstocks or bankruptcy still end up OEM products in trade. This is legal, but it is now the distributor who places the product on the market and is liable for any defects.

Special cases in the computer industry

OEM software

OEM software may differ from the so-called full version (Retail) by a lower delivery or limited functionality.

Most often, the sale of OEM software is license legally permitted only in conjunction with hardware, but not in Germany. OEM versions are upgrade or update usually capable of.

In other words, a customer pays when purchasing a new PC with a preinstalled OEM version much less than if he buys the same PC and a normal retail version of the same software separately. Even when he first buys only the hardware and the same dealership a short time later the software, he is not entitled to the cheaper OEM version more. Microsoft calls its OEM versions of OSB, which stands for OEM for System Builder and SB (V ) (System Builder ( version ) ). The OEM and the SB versions, however, differ only slightly from each other in the rights granted.

Recovery CD: Some OEM label the Windows CD with the addition of " Recovery". These usually have the same range of functions as an original Windows version and are suitable not only to restore a system, but can be used to complete new installation of a PC. ( Exception:. In older versions of Windows, such as Windows Me, it happened that the recovery CDs contained only a disk image with a fully pre-installed drivers of the respective PC A new installation on another PC was very difficult with these versions possible. ) often Recovery CDs are also sold as OEM CDs, since they possess the same properties as OEM or SB versions.

However, there are often several limitations of the recovery CDs. One hand, most CDs have a copy; on the other hand they are usually pegged to the supplied PC Set and lead outside the installation is usually a hardware check. Recovery CDs can therefore not be installed on computers from other manufacturers, what is to prevent the resale. PC manufacturers enjoyed in the programming of recovery CDs many freedoms and could provide them with the latest and most appropriate drivers, which facilitated the installation on the original PC. Microsoft promoted the spread of recovery CDs with special discounts in order to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of the software. Since the introduction of Microsoft Product Activation recovery CDs have become less frequent.

According to a ruling of the Supreme Court of 6 July 2000, it has allowed retailers in Germany to sell OEM versions without being tied to hardware. So OEM versions can also be purchased without hardware. The Microsoft Company had sued and lost to this approach. Thus OEM versions are legally available separately. Microsoft itself or the distributors sell the System Builder versions of Windows and Office only to specific contractors Microsoft. In relevant contracts, the system builder required to install these versions only on new PCs and not individually for sale. For each individual system builder version of the dealer must submit sales evidence against Microsoft. These contracts were introduced in response to the Supreme Court ruling, and they are also not affected by this judgment, just as this particular system builder versions. Since the layman this special system builder versions ( OSB's ) of " normal" system builder versions (Non- OSB) can not distinguish the purchase of the sale is legal, by a Microsoft contractor but not.

Another issue is the conversion of a recovery CD in a normal Windows CD. Technically, this is easily possible, since the required files are on the system partition. The procedure is legal, provided that only " the smooth operation is ensured ." The thus obtained to install the Windows version on multiple PCs or partitions, however - just like a retail version - illegal.

OEM hardware

This is made for another company, under whose brand name, the product is then offered. So-called bulk versions are then described as OEM products, if they are from a system integrator or value-added reseller (VAR ) built and sold in a system. Bulk versions that sold in bulk under the name of the real manufacturer, not strictly OEM products, but are often (wrongly ) as such - called - especially in the IT hardware sector. The particular on the retail market retail hardware differs from the bulk product usually by a more elaborate packaging, and additionally supplied accessories such as cables, screws, ( long ) Warranty and other offerings. With genuine OEM hardware problem assistance is often not by the original manufacturer ( OEM) commanded ( " no device support " ), then the buyer will rely on support from his dealer or system integrator.