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Encyclopedia > Original Equipment Manufacturer

Original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, is an ambiguous and abstruse phrase used in relation to the manufacturing and marketing of products. Usage of the phrase is not consistent, but it typically relates to a situation in which one company uses a component made by a second company in its own product, or sells the product of the second company under its own brand. The specific meaning of 'original equipment manufacturer' in different contexts is detailed in the following sections. For other uses, see Brand (disambiguation). ...


Usage in specific commercial contexts

Aeronautical industry

OEM refers to the aircraft manufacturers. Examples of globally present OEMs in this industry are Airbus of Europe, ATR of France/Italy, Boeing of the United States, Bombardier of Canada and Embraer of Brazil. Airbus S.A.S. (pronounced in English, in French, and in German) is an aircraft manufacturing subsidiary of EADS, a European aerospace concern. ... The Italian-French based aircraft manufacturer Aerei da Trasporto Regionale or Avions de Transport Régional (ATR) was formed in 1981, from the consortium formed by Aérospatiale of France (now EADS) and Aeritalia (now Alenia Aeronautica), of Italy. ... The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA, TYO: 7661) is a major aerospace and defense corporation, originally founded by William Edward Boeing. ... For other uses, see Bombardier (disambiguation). ... Embraer, the Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica S.A. is a Brazilian aircraft manufacturer. ...

Automobile industry

OEM's are the industry's brand name auto manufacturers, such as General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, etc. The OEM definition in the automobile industry constitutes a federally-licensed entity required to warrant and/or guarantee their products, unlike "aftermarket" which is not legally bound to a government-dictated level of liability. Industrial robots welding a car body in the white section of a production line. ... General Motors Corporation, also known as GM, is a multinational corporation headquartered in the United States and has been the worlds largest and most dominant automaker since 1931 till the second half of 2007, surpassed by Toyota; as well as the global industry sales leader for 77 years. ... “Ford” redirects here. ... Toyota Motor Corporation ) is a multinational corporation headquartered in Japan, and currently is the worlds largest automaker. ... VW redirects here. ...

OEM also applies to a multitude of licensed component manufacturers, such as Bosch, BBS, NGK, Pagid, Ferodo, etc. While these meet the industry definition of OEM, they are frequently called OEM Suppliers within the industry to prevent confusion with the automobile brand names. Identical products, such as spark plugs, may be supplied though official franchised dealers in appropriately branded packaging (Volkswagen, General Motors, etc). The same product may be supplied through general auto retail outlets (in the UK - Halfords, A1 Motor Stores, etc), or 'trade' motor factors (UK - Partco, Euro Car Parts, APD) in the manufacturer's original branded packaging. Logo of Robert Bosch GmbH Robert Bosch GmbH [1] is a German corporation which was started in 1886 by Robert Bosch in Stuttgart, Germany. ... BBS Kraftfahrzeugtechnik AG (English: BBS Automotive Technology AG) is a high performance automobile wheel company headquartered in Schiltach, Germany. ... NGK Spark Plug Co. ... Ferodo is a British company founded in 1897 by Herbert Frood in in Chapel en le Frith Derbyshire. ... This article or section should include material from Spark gap A spark plug is an electrical device that fits into the cylinder head of some internal combustion engines and ignites compressed aerosol gasoline by means of an electric spark. ... This article is about car dealerships. ... The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a country in western Europe, and member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the G8, the European Union, and NATO. Usually known simply as the United Kingdom, the UK, or (inaccurately) as Great Britain or Britain, the UK has four constituent... Halfords Group plc (LSE: HFD) is a leading retailer of car parts, car enhancement, cycles and travel solutions in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. ...

Electrical switchgear

Many OEMs exist across the United States to manufacture electrical equipment. These OEMs exist because typically the "national" manufacturers do not have a tremendous ability to adapt to certain needs (ie. special data-center requirements, dimensional challenges as well as speed of delivery). An example of one of these OEM's is California-based Industrial Electric Manufacturing (IEM). This article is about the U.S. state. ...


Beside referring to manufacturers, OEM can be used as an adjective to describe software licensed only for a particular system. OEM software is purchased alongside a system or hardware parts. Certain OEM programs have limited functionality, but most do not. OEM software is often cheaper than the full versions but not as cheap as academic or student editions.

OEM hardware is hardware packaged for computer administrator and builder use. These products are normally plain boxed and often don't come with any instructions or references provided in retail packages.

Operating systems

There are two types of OEM when it comes to operating systems. The first is when a pre-built computer is purchased, there is an OEM disk that comes with the system, which can not be transferred to any other system, because that disk is designed to run only with the specific system components. The second type of OEM operating system is one that can be purchased, and that can be transferred to any other system, without the dependence on the systems components. The main difference between the two is that one is only meant for that specific system, and the other can be used on any system.

Contradictory uses in manufacturing

When a company licenses products or components from another company and sells the products or components with the purchasing company's name or logo on them (usually, but not always as part of a product), the company that resells the product is called the OEM.[1][2][3] For example, when IBM purchased Tandon floppy drives for IBM's original PC, IBM sold the floppy drive to the end user via sales of IBM's PC, and IBM was called the OEM in relation to the Tandon floppy drive. However, in another common usage, Tandon would be called the OEM.[4][5] Look up company in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Economics and commerce define an end-user as the person who uses a product. ...

According to Search Data Center, the former meaning (the reseller is the OEM) is the modern meaning, and the latter meaning (the manufacturer is the OEM) is a holdover from an older usage.[6].

The full extent of the confusion can be seen by browsing the contradictory definitions pulled up by Audit My PC from the results of various search engines.[7]

In the above example also, the Tandon Floppy drive would be called an OEM product.[8]. In the verb form, it would be said that IBM OEM'ed the Tandon floppy drives.

There is a growing market for OEM version to be a version with reduced functionality. (For instance the OEM version of Cyberlink PowerDVD supports two-channel audio but not multi-channel sound systems. A customer who wishes to play DVDs with multi-channel sound is required to pay to upgrade to the full version). The OEM version of a software package may also be limited to be usable only with the hardware it came with. For instance the Nero burning ROM OEM software only functions with the same brand burner it is bundled with. CyberLink PowerDVD is a commercial video player and audio player for Microsoft Windows and Turbolinux [1]. It enables the viewing of High-definition video and DVD-Video movies on the users PC. The player can also be used to play videos and audio/music files in other formats encoded...

Typically OEM software licenses require the installer to agree to additional terms to have a valid license. Microsoft requires certain conditions of distribution and support for its System Builders, which is how it describes the installers with privileges to use OEM licenses. The requirements include: automated methods of installation of the product; customization of the installation to identify the OEM; first level technical support of the product; application of a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) to the hardware; and distribution of original media and booklets. Microsoft Corporation, (NASDAQ: MSFT, HKSE: 4338) is a multinational computer technology corporation with global annual revenue of US$44. ...

OEM software may be licensed under conditions requiring that it be sold with computer hardware. Such conditions have been ruled null and void by the courts of some countries, such as Germany. In those countries where they are deemed binding, to avoid contravening the conditions while passing OEM software savings on to end users, some retailers will sell OEM software with a token hardware device of small cost, such as an obsolete motherboard, single SIMM, or a cable splitter to satisfy the letter of the licensing agreement. This practice is questionable, and may open the end user to audits by publishers. 30- (top) and 72-pin (bottom) SIMMs. ...

The practice of utilizing OEMs in today's cost competitive environment falls under the broader category of outsourcing - a popular business strategy which taps into the original manufacturer's ability to drive cost out of production of the product through manufacturing economies of scale; thereby being able to pass on a more competitive purchase price to the reseller which, in turn, makes each partner in the transaction more competitive. Outsourcing is subcontracting a process, such as product design or manufacturing, to a third-party company. ...

Term origin

OEM is a term that may have been coined in the 1950s by IBM to refer to a vendor that purchased and resold IBM computers[citation needed], also soon after in the early 1960s by Digital Equipment Corporation and its vendors. OEM refers to the manufacturer of a component of, or subassembly used in, the production of a larger item. For other uses, see IBM (disambiguation) and Big Blue. ... Digital Equipment Corporation was a pioneering American company in the computer industry. ...

Related terms

Bulk components

Bulk components are often mistakenly referred to as OEM products. However, these do not actually differ from retail versions, except in their packaging and/or the way they are procured.

Original Design Manufacturer (ODM)

The term Original Design Manufacturer is used to describe companies that design and manufacture a product that is then sold under other brand names and does not necessarily acknowledge the Original Design Manufacturer brand. Some OEMs (original manufacturers, not resellers) have taken on a larger role in the design of the product they are manufacturing and become ODMs. An Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) is a company which manufactures a product which ultimately will be branded by another firm for sale. ...

Value Added Reseller (VAR)

When the term OEM is used to refer only to the original manufacturer of the product (such as with computer hardware), the term Value Added Reseller is used to describe the reseller. The use of OEM as a verb results in the common misunderstanding/reversal of meaning. For example, a VAR might say that they are going to OEM a new product, meaning they are going to offer a new product based on components from an OEM. However, this could also be taken to mean that the VAR considers themselves to be the OEM. Value Added Reseller In the computer and other industries, a VAR (value-added reseller) is a company that takes an existing product, typically computer hardware and/or software, and adds its own value. ...

An OEM will typically build to order based on designs of the VAR. For example, a hard drive in a computer system may be manufactured by a corporation separate from the company that markets and sells the computer, or a loudspeaker in a stereo system made by a company that specializes in audio manufacturing. Typical hard drives of the mid-1990s. ... An inexpensive low fidelity 3. ... Old fashioned radio receiver or wireless, Truetone model A receiver is a tuner combined with an amplifier and/or loudspeaker. ...


  1. ^ What is OEM? - A Word Definition From the Webopedia Computer Dictionary
  2. ^ OEM Definition - What does OEM mean ? - What is OEM ?
  3. ^ SanDisk | Business Products
  4. ^ What is OEM?
  5. ^ OEM - Opportunities - Sage Software SB, Inc
  6. ^ What is OEM? - a definition from Whatis.com - see also: original equipment manufacturer
  7. ^ OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer
  8. ^ OEM Products

  Results from FactBites:
OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer (452 words)
This is a designation for companies that manufacture equipment that is then marketed and sold off to other companies under their own names.
An OEM (original equipment manufacturer) is a company that uses product components from one or more other companies to build a product that it sells under its own company name and brand.
Original Equipment Manufacturer, that is people who buy in components in order to build systems for sale to end-users.
NodeWorks - Encyclopedia: Original equipment manufacturer (258 words)
An original equipment manufacturer (frequently abbreviated OEM) is a company that builds components that are used in systems sold by a value-added reseller, or VAR.
OEM, when used to describe software, is used to differentiate that version of the software which is bundled with other hardware or software from that same software package sold on its own as a retail package.
The packaging and legal rights that come with the OEM versions of a software package generally differ from what is provided with the retail versions, though the functionality of the software tends to be the same.
  More results at FactBites »



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