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An independent hardware vendor (IHV) makes secondary electronics equipment and accessories for laptops and desktops. This can include things like sound cards, mobile network equipment, and more. IHVs are able to provide specialized, niche hardware that performs a unique function – such as disk controllers or graphics cards – and is fully compatible with broader hardware systems.

IHVs work within the specifications of the primary equipment manufacturers to ensure that their products will work flawlessly with dominant operating systems and equipment. For PCs, for example, they are guided by the specifications of providers like Dell, HP, and Microsoft. For mobile networking they comply with the requirements of Android and Apple.

To demonstrate compatibility, they may supply compatibility certifications that verify that their products have been tested in specific hardware/software environments. For example, after SUSE’s IHV partners successfully complete the SUSE YES Certified compatibility testing requirements, they can display the YES Certified logo. This assures their joint customers that their offerings will work in their environment.