What is OEM Software? Is it Legal to Buy OEM Software?

What is OEM Software?

OEM is an abbreviation for original equipment manufacturer. An OEM software refers to a software that is sold in bulk quantities to hardware manufacturers, which are the OEMs. This software is purchased in bulk because its usually shipped with the hardware. The software that comes bundled with your laptop, digicam or with your printer is an OEM software.

Types of OEM Software

OEM software can be a limited version of a full featured software product, with a label of Limited Edition or LE (as opposed to the Standard Edition or SE). For instance, the anti virus software with limited time validity that comes with your laptop is an OEM LE software.

Sometimes an OEM software can be a fully functional product that you can use on your machine but you cannot install it on any other hardware. There is a special kind of license agreement attached with full OEM software, usually called the end user license agreement or EULA. Most of the EULA that comes with OEM software products state that the OEM software is not allowed to be sold without the accompanying hardware.

Is it Legal to Buy OEM Software?

In most cases, No. As defined above, OEM software are usually shipped with a particular hardware and its illegal to sell them separately. Most of the discount or bargain OEM software is actually an illegal copy of the software product, and you will not get any after sales support and service for this software.

Please note that not all OEM software sold without hardware are illegal. Some are legitimate, bulk purchased software, but you should check this well before buying it.

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