Microsoft Voices Hopes and Concerns Over Brexit



/ 2 years ago

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While physical industries are no doubt bracing for the implications of Brexit, tech companies have also weighed in on their concerns. The latest comes from Microsoft which is expressing a cautious approach to Brexit. So far, the tech giant is remaining committed to investing in the UK provided that not much is changed about the status quo.

According to Microsoft’s UK Government Affairs Manager Owen Larter, the company is committed to expanding the two large UK data centers they have in response to rising European demand. However, Larter also warned about the dangers of imposing tariffs on EU imports for server equipment. This goes hand in hand with EU privacy regulations as the UK servers currently help serve the greater European market. If the privacy law in the future prohibit EU data being stored in the UK, the economic calculus will swing in the favor of an EU-based data center rather than expanding a UK one.

“We’re really keen to avoid import tariffs on any hardware. Going back to the datacenter example, we’re looking to build out our datacenters at a pretty strong lick in the UK, because the market is doing very well…

If all of a sudden there are huge import [tariffs] on server racks from China or from eastern Europe, where a lot of them are actually assembled, that might change our investment decisions and perhaps we build out our datacenters across other European countries.”

On the flip side, Larter expects that Brexit will mean looser restrictions on bringing in foreign labor. This likely means the vast pools of engineerings from countries like India and China which are cheaper for Microsoft to hire. So far, with the full implications of Brexit unknown, it appears that Microsoft is in a holding pattern for now.

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