OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) software including Operating Systems [legally] can be sold only with a fully assembled computer. It usually includes some applications such as MS Word, Office, Publishing and fax. And usually includes a 1 year term of tech/customer service and warranty.
Also it usually includes Trial software such as NAV, Mcafee as well as adds for other products and services. These OEM OS's are so good that for most users it may actually be better or more cost effective to just purchase a new computer when it's time for a new OS.
Besides this, I figure the real difference is price.
More from the horses mouth at Microsoft Small Business Community Blog
Hope this is helpful.
I purchased a base unit from an small independent retailer in my local high street and it transpires that the Windows Validation tool identifies the Operating Software as not genuine. I have complained to the retailer, but without success, so will now report him as peddling pirate software.
In the meantime, I want to purchase a genuine copy. I note that there appears to be two varities: "regular" and something called "OEM". The latter is about half the price of the former.
Before I buy a OEM version, is there any difference compared to the other version (that costs treble the amount)?
Apologies for such a Newbie question. No doubt I can find an answer hidden in a forum somewhere, but I can't see where.