Talk:Original equipment manufacturer

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Re-doing the article[edit]

I have rewritten the introduction to make clearer the two conflicting definitions of OEM. I also improved the citations of the references.

I removed the reference because it was poorly written, hard to understand, and didn't seem to be a particularly reliable source. I removed the Economist reference because it was outdated and there didn't seem to be an easy way to get to what was referenced.

I hope that other editors agree that these changes represent improvements.

The Automotive Parts section makes a lot of sense, but the reference doesn't seem to be available any longer. Somebody needs to fix this or find better references (auto parts are outside my scope of knowledge). Lou Sander (talk) 16:22, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Great effort, in my opinion. The revised version is an improvement and has moved the lede onto the right track ontologically. The lede is now strong and well designed, with only one more aspect of the definition that yet needs to be covered, which is a third sense that is an important extension of the two main senses already covered. It only arises (becomes relevant) in contexts of collecting and restoring machines (most often vehicles). It is when "OEM" has a floating meaning (referring to either of the 2 entities already described) that stands in contrast to aftermarket. This is when there are multiple members of the first group (the parts makers), and one of them was the original supplier (whose parts were used at the factory by the second entity, the final assembler) and the others are aftermarket. For example: Say Ford builds a Mustang. The spark plugs used by Ford at the factory are Autolite plugs. Someone who buys a Mustang can go to the store the next week and buy Champion or Splitfire plugs and replace the Autolite plugs with those. In this scenario, the Autolite plugs are described as original equipment (and a magazine article will say, "when Bill restored his Mustang, he replaced the aftermarket plugs with original equipment plugs" or "with OEM plugs"); and car people accept either Autolite or Ford being called the OEM (when you say "OEM plugs", it is understood that you mean "the plugs used at the factory", and it is understood that those may have been Ford or Autolite or Acme, but we will not bother asking which of those it was). This is already explained in the "Automotive parts" section ("An automobile part may carry the designation OEM if it is made by the same manufacturer that made the original part used when building and selling the car or pick-up truck.[5] The term aftermarket is often used for non-OEM spare parts.[5]"), but the lede's ontology doesn't mention it yet. I may try to add one simple sentence to the lede that mentions it. — ¾-10 17:20, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
Update: done. It took several sentences, but I made them as short and clear as possible. — ¾-10 18:18, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
Good work. It is understandable and makes sense. It needs some references, though. Lou Sander (talk) 02:06, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

Archiving old material[edit]

I've archived everything that was on this page prior to 2014. There was a lot of it, and some of it didn't make much sense any more, since the article has been changed many times. Almost everything was from 2012 or before. Lou Sander (talk) 16:40, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Restore software section[edit]

Hi. I respectfully submit that the recently added software section should not have been deleted. The use of the term OEM in software has sufficient notability to be explained here. I pasted below the text that I am talking about. Unless a good analysis of why this needs to be deleted is explained, I will restore this in a week or two (if I remember). — ¾-10 22:24, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

Is there any way to get better sources for this section? Without different sources I'm reluctant to agree it should be reinstated if simply because Microsoft, which would be one of the primary sellers of so-called OEM software, doesn't use the term. Fleetham (talk) 02:37, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
It's confirmed that Microsoft uses the term, as pages at the domain (and at show. The term has been used throughout the era of desktop PCs of various brands (what were once called "IBM PC clones") running Microsoft DOS and Windows OSs. The use of the term in software also continues to have relevance even as that era closes, because now there is the issue of people wanting to modify or supersede the OEM software in their cars (engine control unit software and other car software, which is starting to pervade the rest of the car now), and they are fighting about whether the OEM software's copyright protection means that car owners can't touch it. Which is an interesting question, because one can understand protecting proprietary software from piracy (and from homebrew version forks that might suck and cause accidents), but at the same time, car owners have always had substantial freedom to modify their own cars and use other brands of parts, and people don't want that freedom to go away as software becomes increasingly central to everything a car does. — ¾-10 01:26, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

When referring to software, OEM typically refers to software that comes pre-installed on a personal computer that is assembled by a third-party manufacturer. The Microsoft Windows operating system often comes pre-installed and fully licensed on such computers; in this case Windows would be considered OEM software. Software developers may allow manufacturers to license their software for installation on a large number of machines uniformly for a lower price point, thus lowering the manufacturing cost; large software suites, such as operating systems, office and antivirus suites, often have "OEM" pricing available specifically for such manufacturers. This is also referred to as system builder licensing[1]. It is not uncommon for manufacturers to include physical copies of OEM-licensed software for reinstallation purposes, though the license usually stipulates that it is for use exclusively on that particular machine.[2] OEM software can also refer to proprietary software that comes with and is intended to be used in conjunction with external devices, such as digital cameras and nonstandard input devices.[3]



Fleetham, you appear very attached to this text:

When purchasing parts at national, discount auto parts retailers (e.g., NAPA, Auto Zone, Halfords, Advance Auto Parts, Auto Parts Warehouse, Pep Boys, Motrio, Autobacs, etc.), many parts will have OEM prominently displayed but followed by a qualifier such as "meets OEM standards". Such auto parts are not OEM; they are simply claiming to have been manufactured to the same specifications as the OEM parts—specifications that may well be unpublished and unknowable.

I do not think this text is tenable, for several reasons. For one thing, I do not believe it is accurate to call all of the retailers on this list "national, discount auto parts retailers" (it's also ungrammatical, but that's not of central importance at the moment). Moreover, aftermarket parts are widely available at auto parts stores clear across the spectrum, ranging from those who promote based on low price to those that position themselves to cater to professional mechanics and promote based on high quality. Furthermore, aftermarket parts are widely available through distribution channels other than "national, discount auto parts retailers". For example, aftermarket parts can be bought from, from, at Wal-Mart, at Target, at Canadian Tire, etc. Given that, what is the point of linking eight arbitrarily-chosen auto parts chains? How does it improve or clarify this article? I don't think it does; I think it's a pointless distraction.

Secondly, there is no [[WP:CITE|support] for the that many parts will have OEM prominently displayed but followed by a qualifier such as "meets OEM standards". You've seen that on parts packages and I've seen that on parts packages, but that's not relevant here, because what matters on Wikipedia isn't what we know, it's what we can prove by reference to reliable sources.

Thirdly, that last bit that says they are simply claiming to have been manufactured to the same specifications as the OEM parts—specifications that may well be unpublished and unknowable (emphasis added) is really not OK. It's an assertion without support, which is problematic in itself, but it's also not a neutral assertion. It's basically implying that the claim is a lie -- it's an assertion clearly pejorative towards aftermarket parts, and that violates NPOV and amplifies the problem caused by its lack of reliable support.

Me, I favor changing that entire block of text to this:

Aftermarket parts may be promoted or packaged with verbiage such as "meets OEM standards".[citation needed] These are not OEM parts; they are simply claiming to have been manufactured to the same specifications as the OEM parts.

While it still needs support for the existence of "meets OEM standards" packaging claims, that's a much less weighty need, because the assertion is much less questionable and more neutral than the one you favor—it's not an aspersion or a promotion of aftermarket or OEM parts as being superior or inferior, it's a statement of existence. It doesn't link an arbitrary list of auto parts stores not really relevant to this article. It doesn't inject one particluar point of view (i.e., that the claim of meeting OE specs is false) like your preferred text does. Pogorrhœa (talk) 16:52, 25 October 2015 (UTC)

No offense, some of what you say seems to be quibbles. I mean, you acknowledge that something is a general truth known to all including yourself and then immediately invoke a wikipedia rule in an attempt to get any mention of that general truth removed.
I do agree with some of what you say such as about the moniker "national, discount auto parts retailers" (although how that's ungrammatical doesn't appear obvious--please do let me know as I'm curious). Also the list of company names could be removed.
I don't agree regarding the phrase "specifications that may well be unpublished and unknowable." From what I could find online, this article states, "The aftermarket companies reverse-engineer the part..." That provides evidence that an aftermarket part isn't built to meet any published set of specifications.
Anyway, as a compromise, how about including text that talks about the variable quality of aftermarket parts? Fleetham (talk) 21:58, 25 October 2015 (UTC)
That Edmunds site, assuming it passes WP:RS muster, looks like it might be a good source for improving this section of this article. It provides support for text in this article related to reverse-engineering, but it does not provide evidence that an aftermarket part isn't built to meet published specifications, or that the specifications aren't published. This is not an either/or situation; I've been out of the industry for over a decade after many years in it, so things might have changed, but the norm was (and might still be) that some specifications are published and some are not. Note I don't mention this with an intent to use my own experience (which is not WP:RS) as support for an assertion in this article, but rather to point out that we cannot use a source that mentions reverse-engineering as proof that reverse-engineering is the only way it's done or that OEM specifications are universally unpublished.
The phrase specifications that may well be unpublished and unknowable is not neutral or factual. It is speculative and it implies both that somebody's lying and that aftermarket parts are necessarily inferior to OE parts. We can (and we must) do better than that.
But come to think of it, I actually wonder if we might have taken a hike on a false path with this section of this article. The article is not Original equipment, it is Original equipment manufacturer. In that context, the extent of what needs to be said about auto parts is that the OEM of an auto part is the company (or companies) that supply the part to the automaker for installation during the construction of a new vehicle. Anything beyond that really strays beyond the nominal scope of this article, not only because the parts themselves aren't what this article is about, but also because automakers frequently source a part from different companies for new-vehicle construction vs. service parts supply. A Ford oil filter installed on a Ford Focus on the assembly line, for example, wasn't necessarily made by the same company as a Ford oil filter purchased at a Ford dealer for that same Ford Focus. That muddies the waters a bit with regard to exactly what we mean in any particular conversation when we talk about the OEM part: they're both Ford-branded, so in that respect they're both OE brand, but Ford itself does not manufacture oil filters; they buy them from a variety of suppliers, so the clarity comes only when we define exactly what we're asking when we ask who's the OEM for the Ford Focus oil filter (or whatever part we're talking about).
Given all the foregoing, I think whatever text we wind up devising about how OE and aftermarket auto parts might differ in engineering, design, quality, availability, warranty qualification, etc., is probably better placed in Aftermarket (automotive)—an article which itself could use a good infusion of relevant material.
There is also the issue of the meaning of "OEM" having forked in contradictory ways, which it appears has also caused problems in the technology-related sections of this article. "OEM" is frequently used to mean "automaker". That would make Ford the "OEM" of those two oil filters, even though they didn't actually manufacture them. It would be nice if the language would refrain from evolving in ways like this, but we have to live with it.
The grammatical error was the spurious comma after "national", and NB I did not call anything "a general truth known to all including myself". What I said was that you and I both know there are auto parts bearing phrases like "Meets OE specifications". That was a bit of a guess on my part as regards your knowledge; for all I actually know, you've never set foot in an auto parts store. But since you're having this conversation, I assumed, perhaps rightly and perhaps wrongly, that you have seen such auto parts packaging. I have, but that's exactly my point: the verifiability rules of Wikipedia mean that we don't get to plug in our own knowledge as fact on the assumption that it is universal (or a "general truth known to all", as you put it). Assertions in articles must be backed by reference to reliable sources, no matter how sure we are of what we personally know.

Pogorrhœa (talk) 22:11, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

Right, so it looks like we should go ahead an include information about the variable quality of non-OEM parts. Quite frankly, I don't understand much else of what you wrote. If you were more succinct I think you'd be more easily understandable. Fleetham (talk) 02:47, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
No, I do not think we should include information about the variable quality of non-OEM parts—at least not in this article. Please re-read what I wrote; none of it is abstruse or complex. Pogorrhœa (talk) 04:18, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
I think the point is that the term, "meets OEM specifications," appears to me to be complete marketing waffle. The idea that Delphi or whatever part maker would publish the specifications for their parts so other companies could then make them seems unlikely to me. In fact, I've found a source that suggests otherwise. However, you say that's how the industry works. I would be much more amenable to changes if you could provide a source that does suggest OEMs do, in fact, publish specifications for their parts. If that's true, finding a source is probably the best way forward here.
Also, I think adding information about non-OEM parts being of variable quality is an excellent addition; there's no reason not to go ahead and add it. I'm unsure why you suggest placing it on one page that references these parts and then decline to do so on another especially when it helps contrast OEM and non-OEM parts. It seems a good fit for the current context. Fleetham (talk) 21:41, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

And I would point out (again) that how things appear to you, or what seems unlikely to you (or to me, or to any other editor) cannot be used as a basis for assertions in Wikipedia articles, because an editor's perception or belief is not a reliable source.

You have not found a source that says automakers don't publish specifications, you've found a source that says reverse-engineering is a technique used in the design and production of aftermarket parts. That's true, but the source doesn't say it's the only way it's done (and it's not). Of course, if we're going to discuss that, we need a source for it.

But I still don't agree that what we're talking about here belongs in this article. This article is about OEMs, original-equipment manufacturers. It is not about car parts. Wikipedia has an article about car parts, that is Aftermarket (automotive) where I think discussion of the differences between OE and aftermarket car parts is a much more apt fit, because it's directly relevant to that article's scope. You think the material should be here. OK, why? Pogorrhœa (talk) 23:26, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

Third Opinion[edit]

A third opinion has been requested. I see that there has been extended discussion, but I am not entirely sure what the concise question is. Is the question whether a statement about the variability in the quality of non-OEM (aftermarket) parts should be included in this article? In my opinion, that belongs more in Aftermarket (automotive) than in this article. Robert McClenon (talk) 00:19, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

That's the bone of contention, yes; we've already agreed that the list of parts stores and such should go away. Thank you for weighing in. Pogorrhœa (talk) 05:57, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
I'm kind of interested in this article, and have done a lot of work on it in the past. It is a tough article to edit, as there are so many definitions of "OEM", some of them conflicting. I acknowledge that "unpublished and unknowable" isn't presently sourced, but I seem to remember seeing it in some RS long ago. IMHO, like the article, this talk page is pretty hard to edit, mostly because the discussions, though lucid and logical, are so very, very wordy. It's too hard to figure out what these people are talking about. This is car parts, not philosophy. IMHO, a big problem here is a shortage of reliable sources. Lou Sander (talk) 15:09, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
Well, I see that the Parts Bin source is no longer available. Sigh! I've put some feelers out to some folks in the auto parts industry, looking for some reliable sources on their notion of "OEM". We'll see if anything comes back. BTW, if you Google "unpublished and unknowable", you get a boatload of citations from Wikipedia. Sigh, again! Lou Sander (talk) 15:37, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

Let's cooperate[edit]

Fleetham, I'm having difficulty with your point of view. Right up above, just a couple of days ago, you agreed the list of improperly-described parts stores should go away. There's no disagreement there, so continuing to put it back seems counterproductive. As for the other removed material (diff), once unacceptable citations were removed (per WP:RS), the already-flimsy assertions they were propping up really couldn't stand any longer. Add to that the mismatch between the statements (auto parts quality, etc) and this article's topic, and their speculative and non-NPOV nature (smearing all non-OE parts as inferior), then factor in your having ceased participation in this discussion five days ago (without bothering to give any reasons beyond what amounts to "I just like it") after having dismissed whole chunks of it a day or two before, plus the fact three voices are against your position and only yours is in favor of it (remember, concensus does not require unanimity) and...well, it all creates the appearance you're more interested in ownership of this article than cooperation on it, and I'm sure that isn't the impression you want to convey. C'mon, now, if you've got time to revert an edit with a scoldy edit summary calling for talk page discussion, you've ruddy well got time to get your own self to the talk page and talk. Pogorrhœa (talk) 20:36, 1 November 2015 (UTC)

Feel free to remove material where a consensus has been reached, but please don't also remove extra material when doing so. Fleetham (talk) 10:52, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

Page Name and Lead[edit]

The page name is "Original equipment manufacturer" while in the lead it is capitalised to "Original Equipment Manufacturer". I think one should be changed for consistency. I would prefer to use "Original equipment manufacturer" (without capitalisation) as these are not proper nouns and it is a term used to describe a manufacturer, not a title. (talk) 19:54, 13 August 2016 (UTC)

I agree. I just edited the article as you recommended. -- (talk) 14:01, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

HP pdf in references[edit]

I clicked on the link to the HP pdf in the list of references (currently, it's the second reference) and I see that while the pdf that I downloaded is apparently the same one that the person who added the source to the article found, the URL in the reference redirects to one in the domain, which following last year's split of HP into two, belongs to the company that deals with enterprise computing. I didn't update the URL in the reference (nor the retrieval date) because I figured I should make sure any statements in the article that cite this source are still supported by the source and I don't have the time to do so right now. -- (talk) 14:13, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

Currently, second and third references are both broken links. Don't currently have the time to correct the issue but wanted to flag it for others. (talk) 01:34, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

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Conflicting Definitions[edit]

I like the fact that this article addresses the conflicting definitions issue right at the top of the article. I have one specific example which I wonder if it is covered by the current wording on conflicting definitions. As many people are probably aware, Boeing buys many of the subsystems in aircraft from other companies. To take one specific example, Boeing buys actuators from Parker, Moog, UTC Aerospace, etc. Within the aerospace industry, these companies that supply subsystems to Boeing are frequently called OEM's. Is this covered in the description of the introduction? I'm not sure. --Westwind273 (talk) 05:45, 7 July 2018 (UTC)