I purchased a processor on August 15 2008. I used it for approximately 2 months before it had a failure. I contacted Intel customer support, where after wasting my time for approximately 30 minutes, the technician told me my product was OEM and not eligible for warranty.
I purchased a product in a retail box (FACTORY SEALED with tamper evident tape). The web site I purchased it from is a long-time reliable retailer, and my order shows retail as does the product page. It is physically impossible for someone to replace a processor in a sealed retail box with an OEM one without leaving evidence of tampering. Intel's own packaging makes sure of that so the only conclusion is it happened at the factory.
The Intel technician told me that it was physically impossible (100%) for them to have accidentally supplied me with an OEM processor in a retail box, but did admit in rare cases they had caught these issues before they had left the factory. The support tech insinuated that I was responsible and was somehow defrauding them, by repeatedly claiming that there is 'no logical explanation'. The contact with Intel was on October 28 2008, and I can furnish a log of the conversation. The representative's name was Carlos, no last name or other identification provided.
It is my belief that Intel is engaged in this practice solely for the purpose of avoiding warranty returns, since this is not by any means the first time I have heard of this happening to an honest consumer.