If you’re just starting out in the world of software or recently fired your tech support and decided to handle your business’s software needs yourself, you’ll need to know the basics about the kinds of software available to you.

When you go online and start shopping you may be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of terms and industry jargon that is used. Here is a breakdown of a few popular terms that are used to define software and how they differ from one another.

OEM Software

The OEM in OEM software stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. This is the term given to software that comes with a new device or piece of hardware. OEM software usually comes with new computers, printers, mobile phones, and digital cameras.

OEM software is typically an outdated version of similar software that is already available for sale on the market. OEM software’s primary function is to enable buyers to use their new hardware as soon as they buy it, and to entice them to buy the newer versions of that software.

When customers buy a new computer, the makers of OEM software will sometimes offer them the newest version of the software with a special license that offers unlimited access at a discounted rate. For example, Microsoft sells the latest version of Windows at discounted rates with the purchase of new computers.

Discount Software

Software developers will sometimes provide their software at discounted prices to certain organizations. Non-profit organizations, libraries, and academic institutions are the usual recipients of discounted software. However, the savvy software buyer can often find good deals on discounted software for individuals if they know where to look.

The best way to find discounted software is by shopping around on places like RoyalDiscount.com. The software developer’s home site is bound to be selling the software at the standard retail price. However, there may be other websites that have the same version of the software package at a lower price. How they are able to sell the software at a lower price is a tough question to answer, but as long as it still comes with its own legitimate and authentic product key, that’s not the buyer’s problem.


Another case where discount software may be available is when you upgrade from an earlier version of software that you have already purchased. We’d all love for software developers to allow people who have previous versions of their software to upgrade for free, but many companies don’t offer this. Apple products always allow you to upgrade to the newest versions of their operating systems for free, but Microsoft is not as giving with their newest versions of Windows. What they will do instead is allow people who are upgrading from the previous authentic version to buy the latest version at a discounted price.

Retail Software

Retail software is a full version of a software package that is sold to customers either online or in physical computer accessory stores. They come in their original factory-sealed packaging when bought in stores and with unique software license keys in either case. Selling retail software is how software manufacturers make the big money.

Retail software is sold a premium price. The software designers create the package to perform a certain function that no or few other software packages can perform as well. Retail software is the most expensive choice, so most individuals and businesses are better off trying to find OEM or discounted software before they start looking for retail options.