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Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Episode 14

"Have you seen this?" the PFY says, looking up from our revised contract document.

"What?" I ask.

"Did you realise there's a penalty clause in our contract for early termination? We have to give the company 2 YEARS notice of termination of contract?"

"Sounds about right. It works both ways though - they have to give us the same notice."

"But did you know that the terminating party has to pay the other party the full amount of the contract on early termination?"

"Uh-huh."

"And you agreed to it?"

"Oh yeah!"

"Why?"

"Well you know how these negotiations are - it's give and take."

"How so?"

"Well we GAVE on the grounds that if one of us left then the company would be seriously disadvantaged and so some form of penalty clause for early termination would be wise. And they GAVE in that if they let us go we would be similarly affected and so they would be liable a similar penalty."

"And that's give-and-take is it?" the PFY asks disappointedly.

"Well it's the GIVE part leastways," I say.

"So what's the TAKE bit?"

"Oh, I took out all the clauses around grounds for reasonable termination."

"And they agreed to that?"

"They signed it! Although I do admit after you've read a contract that's been revised 47 times there's a fair chance you get clause-blind after a while and rely on the other party using tracked changes. When you really shouldn't."

"So... you're saying that there are no grounds for reasonable dismissal?" the PFY asks, mulling this over.

"None whatsoever. You could show up to work dressed only in a thong, drop a steaming turd into the Zen garden in the boardroom - during a board meeting - rake it around the place for a couple of minutes while chugging a pint of heavy and watering the bonsai with recycled lager - and they'd still have to pay you out."

"IF, as you say, they fired me," the PFY adds.

"Indeed. And there's no recourse against incompetence or malpractice either. You could install Windows Vista on every desktop, load every machine up with multiple viruses, expose our all file shares to the internet and STILL they would have to pay you out if they let you go."

"But they'd sue you!"

"They would - until they realised that I'd GIVEN them a new liability clause where the company assumes full responsibility for the work of the named contractors. The company really needs to look at the quality of its legal counsel - especially ones with alcohol dependency issues who open whiskey-bottle sized courier parcels delivered to them every day of a contract renewal process!"

"I see..." the PFY says, thinking quickly.

. . . a quarter hour later . . .

"Guess what I got?" the Boss asks, surging into Mission Control oN a wave of excitement.

"Dropped on your head when you were a baby?" the PFY proffers.

"No, from the wife!"

"Herpes!" the PFY says "No! SWINE FLU - because let's face it, she's...!"

"What?!!!?" The Boss interrupts angrily.

I almost feel a bit sorry for him. With only the annoyance of finding another job moderating the PFY in the past, he's now completely off the leash.

"What?" the PFY echoes.

"She didn't give me a disease!" the Boss snaps.

"Oh, what then?"

"I got an IPAD Mini!" the Boss screeches.

"I thought you said it wasn't a disease?" the PFY says.

"What?"

"What?"

This could get ugly...

"It's a Mini!" the Boss says. "It's like an iPad but not as bulky."

"Oh yeah," The PFY says "I looked at one of those but it's still a bit large for me."

"A bit large?"

"Yeah, I wanted something a bit more portable - with a bit more functionality. I got an iPad Micro."

"An iPad Micro?!" the Boss asks casually, showing all the signs of device envy.

"Yes - smaller and more convenient."

"Really? Did it cost much?" the Boss asks

"Nah, not really - on a par with similar devices."

"Should we... uh.. get one in to review them?" the Boss suggests, then realises that it would be seen for the deliberate toy-grab that it is. "Perhaps get several - one for all the staff. We're well under the budget forecast for this quarter so you may as well order a bunch of them."

"Which model do you want?"

"I... Uh... Whatever's the cheapest," the Boss says, feigning nonchalance

And so it is that the PFY orders 10 iPhones...

"But they cost nothing!" the PFY tells the Boss the next day.

"They're not iPad Micros at all!" the Boss shouts angrily. "They're just iPhones!"

"Well *I* call them iPad Micros," the PFY responds defensively "They're smaller than iPads and have more functionality. You can even make phone calls on them!"

...

"Well he's not at all happy!" I say as the Boss storms out. "Imagine how unhappy he'll be when he finds out you signed up for an extortionate 36-month term because it was the cheapest option!"

"Not half as unhappy he's going to be when he finds out I bought them with East European SIMs and the data roaming charges for the UK kick in at the end of the month!!!"

"Yes, it's a pity he's not on our contract isn't it?"

"Perhaps we should start sending him whiskey-bottled shaped packages." the PFY hints.

"Or just leave the empties in his rubbish bin." ®

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