Misconception: I can buy OEM software if I buy a mouse/keyboard/power cable.
Fact: OEM software is designed to allow system builders to install an operating system and/or other software on a system they have built. It is not designed to be a cheap source of Windows software for end users.
Fact: OEM software generally comes in three-packs. They consist of a plain cardboard package, bearing the system builder agreement. These packs are to be sold from suppliers to suppliers, or from suppliers to system builders. More recently, single copies are available, which come in a white cardboard sleeve. This is essentially the same as a three pack, but obviously with only one third of the content.
Fact: System builders are able to sell you system-builder one- or three-packs provided that the seal has not been broken. This transfers the role of system builder from the store to you. They are also within their rights to refuse to sell you sealed system builder packages, because they're a business and can decide what to sell, and what not to sell. "You may only distribute unopened Packs within your territory."
Fact: System builders ARE NOT ALLOWED to individually sell you OEM software which is NOT inside the cardboard packaging. Once this packaging has been broken, the system builder is obligated to install that software on a complete system only. "For each unit of Software in the Pack, you must pre-install one copy of the Software on a Customer System prior to distribution."
Fact: A complete system must contain all of: a CPU, a motherboard, a power supply, an internally mounted NAND (SSD) or revolving magnetic-based hard drive, and a case.
This is the system builder licence, as found on the cardboard packaging of a 1- or 3-pack.
Unlike a retail copy of Windows, OEM copies are eternally bound to the system they are installed on. The recipient of the "built" system which the OEM copy was supplied with has no rights to transfer that software, or install it on another machine.
Edit: Now with pictures!
A "system builder 1-pack" looks like this:
This is what you'll find inside:
The former can be transferred from one system builder to another. The latter cannot, and MUST be installed on a complete system before it it sold.
Edited by SquallStrife, 02 July 2010 - 02:23 PM.