At 11:12 AM 5/18/2012 -0400, you wrote:
I won't argue with the comment "...for the most part", but I will disagreeAh but... Jon who IS an OEM in the literal definition, does not call himself one. That is in a nutshell the problem with the term. It's not used as a self-description by entities that actually fit, and with annoying frequency but those that don't. And its use as a verb is baffling, and I suspect intentionally so - certainly it was a salesman obscuring the origin of his product who first said "We OEM it from them".
The musical instrument business has a slightly vague but ultimately more succinct term... "Stencil". Basically any rebadging of another manufacturer's product. For instance, I have a Wurlitzer C-melody saxophone. Wurlitzer didn't make saxophones, but historians call it a "Conn Stencil", which means it was made by Conn, but "stenciled" with the Wurlitzer name. It's fairly consistent in its usage - as is the similar term "rebadging". If you applied the OEM acronym to this example literally, it would describe the Conn company, and nothing else. Not the instrument, not Wurlitzer, not the dealership, not the process, not the contract, not the horse it rode in on.
At any rate, my point is, if you use the term OEM in a sentence I will ask you to explain and clarify it, every time. And I'm sure it will be another entry on my list, or at least a variant :-)