OEM – original equipment manufacturer

Concept illustration showing OEM as part of a supply chain.
OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer reviewed by Web Webster

What is OEM?

OEM (pronounced as separate letters) is short for original equipment manufacturer, which is a somewhat misleading term used to describe a company that has a special relationship with computer and IT producers. OEMs are typically manufacturers who resell another company’s product under their own name and branding.

OEM is Similar to VAR

While an original equipment manufacturer is similar to a value-added reseller (VAR), the term refers specifically to the act of a company branding a product to its own name and offering its own warranty, support and licensing of the product. The term is really a misnomer because OEMs are not the original manufacturers. Instead, they customize the original product.

An Example of Original Equipment Manufacturers

When a computer technology producer manufacturers its product, for example, a computer graphics card, they will usually make two or more versions of the product. One version is distributed by the manufacturer direct to the consumer retail market, using its own branding and offering its own warranty and support.

Other versions of the manufactured product are distributed through the manufacturer’s OEM and authorized reseller distribution channels. Usually these products are the same quality as the retail versions, but warranties may be different, the manual and bundled software may be non-existent, and the cables and connectors required for installation might not be included. In some cases it may be large quantities of the product purchased in bulk by the OEM for mass-production of pre-built systems.

Recommended Reading: Learn more about different OEM Business Models in this Webopedia Quick Reference article.

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

Top Articles

List of Windows Operating System Versions & History [In Order]

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

Website Shortcut on Your Desktop reviewed by Web Webster   This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a website shortcut on your desktop using...

What are the Five Generations of Computers? (1st to 5th)

Reviewed by Web Webster Each generation of computer has brought significant advances in speed and power to computing tasks. Learn about each of the...

Hotmail [Outlook] Email Accounts

Launched in 1996, Hotmail was one of the first public webmail services that could be accessed from any web browser. At its peak in...

SHA-256

SHA-256 is an algorithm used for hash functions and is a vital component...

Document Management System

A document management system is an automated software solution businesses and organizations use...

Conti Ransomware

Conti ransomware first emerged in 2020. It uses a ransomware as a service...