Re: More.....RPM

Andy Harman

At 03:03 PM 5/18/2012 +0000, you wrote:

In the model railroad industry, back in what is fast becoming the distant past, OEM, and "OEM pricing" was used to denote the components one manufacturer would supply to another for use in his kits. The pars were first rate parts, but with no additional work; bulk packed, often counted by weight, maybe not clipped if the parts required clipping from the runner.
Added to the list...

I can give one really glaring counter-example. In the mid 90s I bought wholesale computer components from an importer/warehouse operation to build PCs for my customers. Much of the stuff was generic but they offered a "Microsoft OEM Mouse". At the time Microsoft's ubiquitous "Dove bar" mouse was well above everybody else's in quality and price - Logitech's had all the grace of a sewing machine pedal. But the Microsoft Mouse had a sticker-shock price of $99 and a best street price of $69 or so. The $25 "OEM mouse" was supposed to be as you described, a "first rate part" without retail packaging, for me to bundle with the computer I was building.\. It had the same shape, but a slightly different finish and grossly inferior guts. There are probably still shards lurking under the floorboards of my old house where I spiked one into the kitchen floor - after spinning it around on its cord to build up speed. It was a piece of garbage.

As I said, it's a term used indiscriminantly since the 70s, and probably being used in the computer industry was the final nail in the coffin of meaningful definition - originally it probably did describe what Dennis is describing, although it's really a misnomer even in that context. In literal sense, OEM describes the entity who actually manufactures the part/product - not the product itself, the package, the process, the retailer, or any middleman. But that's taking the acronym literally, which nobody ever does.

Invariably when I bring up this topic, I get inundated with definitions which are quite clear to the definer, but of course all different from each other - thus proving my point. Terms change and evolve all the time, and I accept that - but sometimes they simply dissolve to the point they have no meaning. If somebody wants to do business with me and uses the term OEM, I have to ask them to explain WTF it means in their context, and it never refers to the entity that is the "original equipment manufacturer". So I gotta call BS.


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