Equipment Superior to Operator

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What Does Equipment Superior to Operator Mean?

Equipment superior to operator (ESO) is a satirical or derogatory term used by technicians and servicemen to mean "user error." Essentially, it means that the equipment is too advanced for the user to use it properly. An alternative term is equipment smarter than operator.

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Techopedia Explains Equipment Superior to Operator

Technicians and repairmen are often confronted by clueless customers who claim that the products they have bought are not working properly or not as advertised when, in fact, there is nothing wrong with the products and, therefore, the problem is with the user. In such cases, there is often no choice but to take the customer’s word for it.

As this can be somewhat annoying, technicians coined a derogatory term for it: equipment superior to operator. It means that the device or equipment is too advanced for the user to operate it correctly.

In simple terms, it means "user error."

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.