Product support services refer to labor-based services for hardware or software, which can be performed by the manufacturer of the product or parties other than the vendor that created the product. These services can be provided by several types of vendors, typically including hardware OEMs, such as Dell, HP, EMC or IBM; and software publishers, such as Microsoft, Oracle or SAP. Formal channel partners of hardware and software vendors also provide support services.
Product support services are also delivered by additional independent service providers and third-party support providers. An independent service provider delivers a broad range of services for hardware and/or software products (such as consulting or support), and may have an alliance with the product manufacturer but not as a primary means to its service business. A third-party support provider primarily delivers break/fix technical support for hardware and/or software products and is not typically aligned with the product manufacturer but may have a relationship in certain specific exceptional cases.