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January 23, 2017updated 24 Jan 2017 5:09pm

Microsoft warns of Brexit impact on UK data centres

Microsoft says Brexit may cause concerns for data sharing from its UK data centres.

By Hannah Williams

Speaking at a recent webinar, titled ‘What Brexit means for Tech’, Microsoft’s UK government affairs manager Owen Larter said that if tariffs became too high then Microsoft may consider halting plans to expand its data centre infrastructure in Britain.

Larter said: “We’re really keen to avoid import tariffs on any hardware. Going back to the data centre example, we’re looking to build out our data centres 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 data centres across other European countries.”

Microsoft previously announced towards the end of 2016 that it would begin offering private internet connections to its UK data centres.

The company also already has data centres located across Europe, such as Austria, France, Germany and others- all of which assist in providing cloud services to customers.

A particular concern for Microsoft is that the current data-sharing between the UK, EU and US, is not disrupted at any stage following Brexit.

“The UK is actually the EU’s largest cloud market at the moment, and is set to double by 2019. That kind of bright future is probably not going to be possible if we make it a lot harder to transfer data and store data from the EU into UK data centres.”

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However, Larter discussed the opportunity for Microsoft to bring more foreign developers and researchers into the UK from outside Europe.

A Microsoft spokesperson told CBR: “The comments reported today by a Microsoft employee were not reflective of the company’s view.  As we have said both before and after the EU referendum vote, Microsoft’s commitment to the UK is unchanged.”

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