OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM Software refers to software that is manufactured for sale on a large scale to computer makers. For example, Dell will often bundle the latest Microsoft Windows Operating system on their computers. As a matter of fact, most of the major PC manufacturers do the same.
To continue this theme, Apple Mac computers are bundled with the latest version of OS X Snow Leopard.
Computers are not the only equipment that comes bundled with OEM software. Purchase a new Digital Camera, a printer, or most any electronic equipment these days, and you will often find a CD-ROM included with the drivers for the device, and extra third party software.
Often while scrolling through your email, you may see advertising for “OEM Software at Low, Low Prices!” Beware. There may be a legal issue if you purchase OEM software from some of these sources. What you may be buying is pirated versions of the software such as “Photoshop”, “Windows 7”, or any number of software titles. If you buy these from the questionable sources on the internet, you might get software that has been copied poorly. The software might not install properly, and might not work well either.
If you attempt to register some of the OEM software titles, the manufacturers might have in place security to detect an illegal copy. The software will often be unable to be registered, and therefore you might not be able to get it to work. If you are relying on a copy of operating system software like Windows 7, you might just end up with a computer that will not run.
Many software companies especially Microsoft, are increasing their enforcement of pirated software laws. If you buy a pirated copy of a Microsoft program, you could be looking at serious fines. At best, you will likely not be able to take advantage of software and security updates.
Another issue with these so-called OEM software programs is the possibility of ending up with a virus on your computer. This can happen because of purchasing or downloading software from a disreputable source.
Occasionally, people will purchase a new computer that has many OEM CD-ROM programs included, and decide to sell them on E-bay or other internet sites. If you are considering this yourself, be aware you may be selling the backup discs for your system. Should your computer crash and you need to reinstall your software, you could be out of luck if you have sold them.
Not only that, but unless you are a licensed software reseller, you could be in some serious hot water. True, if you sell the discs that came with your computer you are not likely to end up on the radar of the OEM police, but start making a habit of it, and you may get a visit form the Men in Black. If not them, perhaps the FBI.
OEM software has its purpose. Mainly as stated previously, as backup to your installed software when you buy a new computer or as a third-party program to give you more options with your new digital camera or other electronics.