What is an OEM version?

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When shopping around on ebay, you may have come across OEM products and asked yourself what exactly they are and how they are different. OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) products are a great way to buy quality products and save significant amounts of money compared to retail products.

OEM products are in many ways identical to retail versions and come from the same production line. OEM products are made for resellers and manufacturers which don't need fancy retail boxes but in turn are significantly cheaper. Some OEM products come without or with less accessories and may not include a printed manual. This varies from product to product but is easy to cope with considering the price of a OEM product ranges from anything between 30% to 70% of the retail price. The manufacturers of OEM products not only save on accessories - product marketing and after sales support are other significant cost contributors which do not apply to OEM products.

Let's take a look at an example case. Company XYZ forcasts that they will sell 450 desktop computers of a certain type over the coming 12 months. They approach Wintel and request  45 boxes of 10 motherboards each. You can find such a box pictured above. Wintel replies that they can offer a better discount for a total of 500 motherboards and the purchase goes ahead. Ten month later only 410 computers were sold but the next big thing is coming up and the desktop production is changed to a new motherboard type. Now there are 9 boxes of 10 motherboards left which are sold as they aren't needed anylonger. Many such products can be found on ebay at incredible prices.

When you are looking at products, keep in mind that fewer or no accessories may be included. Some ebayers are only too happy to pay half the normal price but then complain about missing accessories or the lack of a glossy retail box. If it's not pictured or described it's probably not part of the auction! If you aren't sure or the auction page isn't clear - send a quick email to the seller to find out more..

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