What if you as a company tell your key personnel to choose and they do — they leave? That is what has happened to Oracle and contributors to its Open Office product. In fact, the defections are mass. Thirty programmers in a public letter switched their allegiance to a new competitor established to take over Open Office development. The reason? They don’t trust Oracle. It is a PR headache for Oracle, which says it intends to continue development of the product suite. There are reasons for the defections. Oracle over the years has been aggressive and difficult to work with, and its CEO has a style that has been called piratical. In other words, the reputation of a company can hurt it, which, of course, is what PR has been preaching for decades. If Oracle does elect to continue Open Office, it will need to make peace quickly.